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MAS 20 1911 





THIS history of Labrador, begun at the instigation 
of Dr. Grenfell, has far outgrown the original 
design, I had long been collecting books relating to 
the history of Newfoundland, and fondly imagined that 
I had the material at hand from which I could com- 
pile a few chapters that would contain all that was 
known about Labrador. I soon found that it was a 
much more serious affair, and that Labrador had quite 
an extended history, the greater part of which had not 
been touched upon by any writer. 

By the courtesy of Sir Francis S. Hopwood, Under- 
Secretary for State for the Colonies, I have been ac- 
corded particular facilities for obtaining information 
from the Record Office; the Canadian Archivist, Mr. 
Alfred Doughty, has kindly furnished me with copies 
of documents from their most valuable collection of 
records ; Mr. H. P. Biggar has given me the benefit 
of his advice as to where to search for information 
I required, and Mr. N. E. Dionne, of Quebec, and 
Dr. S. E. Dawson, Ottawa, have courteously replied 
to my queries. To these gentlemen I tender my sin- 
cere thanks. 

For all matters relating to the discovery and early 
exploration of Labrador, I must express myself greatly 
indebted to the works of M. Henri Harrisse, who is 
facile princeps in that line of study. 


My design has been to preserve the knowledge of 
the incidents which took place in the past, and which 
are likely to have some value in the development of the 
country in the future. That may tend to the protection 
and amelioration of the native races of Indians and 
Eskimos, to the betterment of the comparatively few 
white settlers, to the development and conservation of 
its marvellous fisheries, the framing of proper laws for 
the governance of the thousands of Newfoundland, 
Canadian, and American fishermen who frequent its 
coasts, to excite an interest in this neglected country, 
and to assist Dr. Grenfell, who has been working for 
these same ends for the past sixteen years with a single- 
minded devotion which excludes all other interests. 

As was to be supposed, there is no consecutive history 
of Labrador, and the chapters have resolved themselves 
into dissertations on subjects often very slightly con- 
nected one with another. At other times they will be 
found to overlap and to contain a certain amount 
of repetition, which has been unavoidable in the method 
I have been compelled to follow, and which, I hope, 
may be forgiven. 

Although this volume far exceeds the size originally 
intended, a good deal of matter has been omitted. It 
will be found that I have included very little either 
of a descriptive or scientific nature, my reason being 
that Dr. Grenfell intends shortly to bring out a book 
dealing exhaustively with these subjects. 

But I trust, however, that the story of the past here 

related may prove not altogether without interest and 





The Norsemen's Visits to the Coast of Labrador. i 

The Cabots. 1497 . . . . . .19 

Voyages to the New Lands, i 500-1 534 . . .33 

The Derivation of the name "Labrador" . , 52 

Cartographical Evolution of Labrador . -56 

Jacques C artier . . . . . -73 


English Voyages to America in the Sixteenth 
Century ....... 93 


The Search for the North-west Passage and Con- 
sequent Visits to Labrador— The Hudson Bay 
Company . . . . . . .118 



The French on Labrador, 1700-1763 . . -131 


The Eskimos . . . . . . • iSS 

The English Occupation . . . . .171 

Captain George Cartwright .... 222 

The Moravian Brethren . . . . ,251 

The Moravian Brethren {co7iti?nied) . . ,278 

Americans on the Labrador . . . .317 

The British Fisheries on Labrador . . . 379 

Boundary Dispute with Canada . . .432 

Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, C.M.G. .... 454 

Appendix . . , . . . -475 


Remarkable Iceberg, showing Corrugations caused by 

Continual Streams of Water flowing down it F'piece. 



Hakluyt's Voyages 


Glacial Erosion in Labrador, near the Horsechops 

Fishing Schooners on the Labrador Coast 

Cantino Map. 1502 

King Map 

Kunstman No. II 

Kunstman No. Ill 

Carta Marina, 15 16 

Wolfenbuttel B. circa 1530 

Desliens Map, 1546 

Molyneux Map, from 1598 Edition of " 

French Mat, about 1700 

Old Fort Ridge, near the Ancient 

Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser . 

York Fort 

Captain Cook 

Battle Harbour, Labrador . 

Moravian Mission House, Nain 

Moravian Mission Station, Hopedale 

Moravian Mission Station, Okak 

Moravian Mission Station, Hebron 

Iceberg .... 

Moravian Mission Station, Killinek 

A Large Bekg near Indian Harbour 

Indian Harbour .... 








Venison Tickle . 

A Haul of Codfish 

River St. Lawrence, 1829 

Dr. Wilfred Grenfkll, C.M.G. 

Dr. Grenfell and Secretary trying 

Dr. Grenfell and Patients on Deci 

Battle Harbour Hospital 

SS. "Strathcona" at Work . 

"Petb" Lindsay . 

Red Bay Co-operative . 

A Group of Orphan Children 


Lapps Milking Deer 

A P'isHiNG Dispute 
OF " Strathcona ' 









THE story of the Norse voyages to the American 
continent has received the alternate support and 
ridicule of students. The first ardent believer in the 
legend was Rafin, who published his monumental work, 
Antiqiiates Anieidcance in 1837. He was followed by a 
number of writers, who, by trying to prove too much, 
brought the whole story into contempt. Governor 
Benedict Arnold's windmill was transformed by their 
imagination into a Norse tower, and the Indian picture- 
writing found at Dighton, Mass., into a runic in- 

Bancroft in his History of the United States, and 
Justin Winsor in his History of America, concur in the 
opinion that the Norse voyages were mere fables upon 
which no reliance could be placed. 

But lately, as a result of continual research, the 
pendulum of belief has swung strongly to the affirma- 



tive, and a perusal of the latest and most learned work 
on the subject, The Discoveries of the Norsemen in 
America, by Professor Joseph Fischer, 1903, must 
convince the most sceptical that the Norsemen did 
visit Labrador, Newfoundland, and perhaps some more 
southern coasts. 

In order to appreciate fully these Norse legends it is 
necessary to relate, as briefly as possible, the history of 
the early settlement of Greenland, from which place 
the voyagers to America set forth. 

About the year 986, Eric the Red, a prominent man 
in the Norse colony of Iceland, was banished for having 
slain in a feud the two sons of a powerful karl. 

It had been previously reported that land had been 
seen far to the west of Iceland, so he sailed away in 
search of it, and discovered Greenland. There he 
decided to settle, and called the place Greenland, 
because he said "men would be the more readily 
persuaded there if the land had a good name." 
Whether it was a result of this judicious choice of a 
name or not, two considerable colonies arose, one called 
the eastern and the other the western settlement, both, 
however, being on the west side of Greenland. It has 
been estimated, from the ruins which are still extant 
and from the authentic histories which remain, that 
probably they contained about five thousand inhabi- 
tants in their most flourishing days. 

Christianity was introduced about the year 1000, and 
the first bishop recorded to have visited there was Eric 
in the year 1 121. Of him the Amiales Regii of Iceland 
makes the following brief mention : " A.D. 1 121, Bishop 
Eric of Greenland went in search of Vinland." 

Apparently he never returned, for the colonists soon 
after petitioned to have a bishop appointed who should 


reside in the colony; and accordingly in the year 1125 
a Bishop's See was created at Gardar, the first occupant 
being Bishop Arnold. In the three hundred years 
which elapsed before the abandonment of the colony, 
the names are recorded of no less than seventeen 
bishops, many of whom visited Rome, notably Jon, 
about the year 1204, and John Ericson Scalle in 1356, 
and again in 1369. 

The colony was a dependency of the Crown of 
Norway, and supported itself by cattle breeding, seal 
hunting, and fishing. It is even said that they were 
able to export considerable quantities of cattle, butter, 
and cheese, and that they contributed a handsome sum 
annually to Peter's Pence. 

A sturdy and independent existence was maintained 
until about the middle of the fourteenth century, when 
evil days fell upon them. The Pestilence, known as 
the Black Death, reached even to these remote regions 
and greatly reduced the population. About the same 
time also the savage Eskimos first made their appear- 
ance from northern Greenland and persistently attacked 

As there was no vi^ood for ship building, the Green- 
landers had become more and more dependent upon 
the parent land of Norway for their communication 
with the rest of the world. Norway was also full 
of trouble. Pestilence, and wars foreign and civil, 
occupied its attention, and the distant colony was 
more and more neglected and finally abandoned to 
its fate. 

It is not known when or how the final tragedy 
occurred. The last ship to go to Greenland was the 
Knor in 1406, which returned in 141 o. There 
seems, however, to have been later news, for in a 


letter written by Pope Nicholas V, in 1448, we read : 
" It is not difficult to understand how our mind was 
filled with bitterness by the tearful lamentations which 
reached our ears from our beloved children the natives 
and other inhabitants of Greenland," but no indication 
is given of how the news came. Again, Pope 
Alexander VI, in the early days of his pontificate, 
1492- 1 503, wrote: " We have learned that no vessel has 
touched there during the past eighty years." He ap- 
pointed one, Matthias, to be Bishop of Gardar, but 
history does not state whether he ever reached his 
episcopate. In the early part of the sixteenth century 
an attempt was made by the Archbishop of Drontheim 
to search for the lost colony, and in 1579, Frederick 
II of Norway sent out an expedition for that purpose, 
but it did not succeed in reaching the island. The first 
European to visit Greenland after this hiatus in its 
history was John Davis in 1585, but there was then no 
trace of the previous settlers. 

History has few more tragic stories than that of the 
abandoned Christian colony in Greenland. One can 
picture the sufferings which must have been endured, 
the hope of succour continually deferred, and the despair 
of the last survivors. 

Crantz, the historian of Greenland, thinks that the 
last of the Norse colonists were probably absorbed by 
the Eskimos, as some words of their language seem 
to have a Norse origin, especially the word " Kona," 
woman — a significant fact. The Eskimo themselves, 
however, have a clear tradition of having completely 
exterminated the hated Kablunaet (foreigners, sons of 

It is easy to understand how the deeds of the Green- 
landers in their early days and the memory of their 


discoveries would have gradually faded into oblivion. 
But the records remained. 

The story of the Norse voyages to America is de- 
rived from the following sources : Adam of Bremen, 
who wrote in the year 1067; Ari, the historian of 
Iceland, 1067-1148 ; a twelfth-century geographer, sup- 
posed to be Abbot Nicholas of Thingyre, who died in 
the year 1159 ; and many Icelandic sagas, the principal 
of which are the saga of Eric the Red, written between 
the years 1310-20, and the saga known as the Flatey 
Book, about the year 1380. 

Adam of Bremen, a learned German monk, was 
appointed canon of the cathedral of that city about 
the year 1067. He became greatly interested in the 
work of the Church in the northern countries, and was 
at much pains to write its history. His book is called 
A History of the Deeds of the Bishops of Hamburg, the 
fourth part of which is entitled A Description of the 
Islands of the North. In order to obtain particulars 
of these northern countries, Adam made a visit to 
King Sven of Denmark, " in whose head was graven 
as on a tablet the whole history of the barbarians " 
(that is to say, the Norsemen). As there was con- 
tinual communication between Greenland, Iceland, and 
Denmark, it is quite possible that King Sven may have 
obtained his information from one of the voyagers 

Adam says : " Moreover, he (King Sven) speaks of 
an island in that ocean, discovered by many, which is 
called Vinland, for the reason that vines grow there 
which yield the best of wine. Moreover, that grain 
unsown grows there abundantly is not a fabulous fancy, 
but, from the accounts of the Danes, we know to be a 


Unfortunately Adam caused a doubt to be cast on 
the truth of the whole story by the following addition : 
" Beyond this island there is said to be no habitable 
land in that ocean, but all those regions beyond are 
filled with unsupportable ice and boundless gloom." 
He also thought Greenland was so called from the 
colour of the skin of the inhabitants. In spite of its 
incongruities, Adam's history is particularly valuable, 
being the first written mention of Vinland, derived from 
contemporary sources and entirely independent of the 
Icelandic sagas. 

Ari the Wise, " the earliest and most trustworthy of 
all the Icelandic historians," gives a detailed account of 
the settlement of Greenland. He is careful to give his 
authority, and tells how he obtained the story from an 
uncle who in turn received it from a companion of 
Eric the Red. Ari does not relate the story of the 
discovery of Vinland, but speaks of it as a country 
which was well known to all. 

The MS. geography of the twelfth century is valuable 
corroborative evidence of that period. It simply states : 
" Helluland lies to the South of Greenland, then comes 
Markland, and a little way on Vinland the Good, which 
is said to be joined to Africa," with some particulars of 
the discovery of the latter by Leif the Lucky. 

The above references are very slight, but they show a 
continual tradition and are independent one of the 
other, and, added to the testimony of the sagas, remove 
the story of the Norse voyages to America from the 
realms of romance to that of settled history. 

The value of the Icelandic sagas as history has been 
very much debated. They are the written form of 
traditions which had been handed down from father to 
son through generations, and are a curious compound 


of myth, history, and genealogical details of the families 
whose deeds are recorded. 

The accounts of the voyages to Vinland differ con- 
siderably in each saga, but all agree in the main 
features. The saga of Eric the Red is generally con- 
sidered more authentic than that of the Flat Island 
book, and from it the following short narrative is chiefly 

About the year 999, Leif the Lucky, son of Eric the 
Red, the discoverer of Greenland, went to Norway, 
where he was converted to Christianity. The following 
year he set out with the intention of returning to 
Greenland, charged by Olaf, King of Norway, with the 
mission of introducing Christianity into that distant 
island. He was driven out of his course by storms and 
came to a land where vines and corn grew wild. Mak- 
ing his way from thence in a north-easterly direction, he 
finally arrived at Greenland. His story naturally 
aroused great interest, and the next spring his brother 
Thorstein set out to explore the newly-found country. 
But " they were long tossed about upon the ocean and 
could not lay the course they wished. They came in 
sight of Iceland, and likewise saw birds from the Irish 
coast." They finally got back to Greenland worn out 
by toil and exposure. 

Thorstein died the following winter, under circum- 
stances full of miraculous detail, and his widow 
Gudrid, who plays a prominent part in the Vinland 
voyages, married Thorfinn Karlsefni, an Icelandic 
trader of considerable means and of well-known lineage. 

Vinland continued to be much talked about, and 
Karlsefni, urged by his wife and new relations, at 
length determined on a voyage of exploration. He 
started out from the western settlement with two 


ships and i6o men, commanding one ship himself and 
his friend Bjorne the other. His wife Gudrid also 
accompanied him. 

They bore away to the southward, and after several 
days discovered land. " They launched a boat and ex- 
plored the land, and found there large flat stones 
(hellur), and many of these were twelve ells wide. 
There v/ere many Arctic foxes. They gave a name 
to the country and called it Helluland " (the land of flat 

Another account is as follows : " They sailed up to 
the land and cast anchor, and launched a boat and 
went ashore and saw no grass there ; great ice moun- 
tains lay inland back from the sea, and it was as a flat 
rock all the way from the sea to the mountains, and the 
country seemed to them entirely void of any good 

They set sail again with a northerly wind, and after 
two days came to a land, " and upon it was a great 
wood and many wild beasts, and the land where the 
wood was they called Markland" (forest-land). Setting 
forth once more, " they sailed by a bleak coast having 
long and sandy shores, and they called the strands 
Wonderstrands, because they were so long to sail by." 
Finally they reached Vinland, where they spent several 
winters. Karlsefni had intended to make a permanent 
settlement in the newly discovered country which 
possessed so many advantages over Greenland, but a 
change in his plans was caused by the appearance of 
the natives, whom they called Skraelings. The low 
stature and facial characteristics of this race, and their 
skin canoes, each holding one man, prove beyond 
reasonable doubt that they were Eskimos, a race 
which the Norsemen had not at that time met in 


Greenland, and who were not known there until after 
the time the saga of Eric the Red was written. The 
attacks made upon the Norsemen by this savage people 
caused Karlsefni to abandon his enterprise, and he 
returned to Greenland in 1006, with his wife Gudrid 
and their son Snorri, who had been born during the 
stay in Vinland. 

It is not necessary for the purposes of this history 
to enter upon any discussion as to the location of 
Vinland, but the resemblance of " Helluland " and 
" Markland " to Labrador and Newfoundland is too 
exact in its general character to leave any doubt upon 
the mind that they at least were visited by the 

It is naturally impossible to offer anything more 
than a surmise as to the actual places visited. Almost 
any part of the coast of Newfoundland answers to the 
description of Markland, but it seems particularly 
applicable to Notre Dame Bay. Lying open to the 
north-east, it would be the probable landfall of vessels 
coasting from that direction. There are numbers of 
islands in the bay clothed with woods to the water's 
edge, a circumstance which caused Corte Real to call 
it Terre Verde, has earned for it the sub-title of 
" Green Bay," and very likely suggested the appropriate 
name " Markland " to the Norsemen. 

Several of the physical features noted in the Norse 
tales are to be found in Labrador, Wonderstrands 
would appear to have been met with to the south of 
Markland, but the sagas differ somewhat on this point, 
and it is possible that the long stretch of sandy coast 
on the Labrador known as Porcupine Strand may have 
been the place visited. 

Dr. Packard, in his Labrador, thus describes it : " The 


exceptional area observed lies between Sandwich Bay 
and Hamilton Inlet, Cape Porcupine being the centre. 
It is protected from the northern swell of the ocean by- 
Indian Harbor, islands and promontory. Here large 
deposits of sand are seen covering many square miles 
in area." This stretch of coast is nearly fifty miles 
long. The shores of Sandwich Bay are also sandy and 
the water is very shallow. Several good sized rivers 
empty into it, which are famous for salmon. 

Another explanation of " Wonderstrand " may be 
found in the " Report of an Official Visit to the Coast of 
Labrador" by His Excellency Sir Wm. MacGregor, 
Governor of Newfoundland, in August, 1905. He says: 
" On looking at the coast of Labrador from some 
distance at sea in the neighbourhood of Chateau Bay, 
one would think from the long greyish white line of the 
beach that there was a fine sandy shore all along it. 
But this appearance is produced only by the sea-washed 
foot of the worn rounded eozoic cliffs and rocks that 
on this coast present to the ocean a solid wall of stone, 
a continuous and enduring breakwater of bare rock, 
which in its sinuous course is thousands of miles long." 

It has been seen that Helluland was thus named 
either from the quantity of " broad flat stones " or 
because of the flat table-land which lay between the 
shore and the mountains, both of which are character- 
istic of Labrador, 

The following description is taken from Dr. Packard's 
Labrador, and is accompanied by the striking photograph 
here produced : — 

" The adjoining illustration brings out clearly some 
of the characteristic features of the scenery of the 
coast of Labrador. In the foreground the rocky shore 
of the Horsechops, as the deep fiord is called which 


is situated far up on the eastern coast of Labrador, 
has been ground down, smoothed and polished by the 
great mass of land ice which formerly filled Hamilton 
Bay, Across the fiord, the shores of the bay rise 
abruptly in great rocky terraces — also a characteristic 
feature of Labrador." 

It would be hard to imagine a locality more likely 
to give rise to the name of " Helluland " than that here 
depicted ; but curiously enough, Dr. Packard, who is 
quite convinced that Helluland is Labrador, does not 
seem to have noticed how appropriately his description 
and photograph illustrate the name given to the country 
by the Norsemen. 

Horsechops, here mentioned, is at the southern 
terminus of the sandy stretch of coast already referred 
to, known as Porcupine Strand. We have thus close 
together two of the most important physical features 
recorded by the Norsemen. 

Helluland seemed to these early discoverers " to be 
entirely devoid of good qualities " — an opinion which 
found an echo five hundred years later when it was 
visited by Europeans. On the Spanish map drawn by 
Ribero in 1529, to delineate the respective portions of 
Spain and Portugal in the New World, we read : — 

" Labrador was discovered by the English ; there is 
nothing in it of any value." 

Wherever else they went, we feel sure that the Norse- 
men undoubtedly visited Labrador. 

While studying the annual reports of the Moravian 
Brethren, which have been published regularly since 
the founding of their mission on the Labrador, I found 
references to remains of houses on the islands border- 
ing the coast about Nain. It was stated that these 


houses had been built of stone not after the fashion of the 
Eskimos. Brother Lundberg writes in 183 1 as follows: — 

" The fact of the Greenlanders having once inhabited 
Labrador appears to be proved by the occasional dis- 
covery of the ruins of Greenland houses upon the 
islands which stretch along our coast. In the construc- 
tion of these houses stone has been used, which is 
contrary to the Eskimo mode of building." 

The writer concluded from this that the Greenland 
Eskimos at one time inhabited Labrador, evidently not 
being aware that the Eskimos migrated from Labrador 
to Greenland, not from Greenland to Labrador. The 
Brethren, Kohlmeister and Kmock, who travelled from 
Okak to Ungava Bay in the year 181 1, record finding 
ruins of Greenland houses on Amitok Island, lat. 59° 30". 
They say : — 

" The Eskimos have a tradition that the Greenlanders 
came originally from Canada and settled on the out- 
most islands of this coast, but never penetrated into 
the country before they were driven eastward to Green- 
land. This report gains some credit from the state in 
which the above-mentioned ruins are found. They 
consist of remains of walls and graves, with a low 
stone enclosure round the tomb, covered with a slab of 
the same material. They have been discovered on 
islands near Nain, and though sparingly, all along the 
eastern coast, but we saw none in Ungava Bay." 

Dr. Rink, in his Tales and Traditions of the Eskimos, 
gives the following interesting tradition as told by one 
of them : — 

" Our ancestors and the tunneks or tunnit (in Green- 
landish tornit, plural of tunek) in days of yore lived 


together ; but the tunneks fled from fear of our people, 
who used to drill holes in their foreheads while yet 
alive. With this view they moved from here to the 
north, crossing over to Killinek (Cape Chidley). 
While dwelling among us they had sealskins with the 
blubber attached for bed robes. Their clothes were 
made in the same way. Their weapons were formed of 
slate and hornstone, and their drills of crystal. They 
were strong and formidable, especially one of them, 
called by the name of Jauranat, from which is formed 
javianarpok (Greenlandish, navianarpok). Huge blocks 
of stone are still to be seen which they were able to 
move. Some ruins of their houses are also to be found 
here and there in our country, chiefly upon the islands, 
having been built of stones, and differing from the 
abodes of our people. One of our ancestors when 
kayaking had a tunnek for his companion, who had a 
bird spear, the points of which were made of walrus- 

Dr. Rink comments upon this tradition as follows : — 

" This tradition is compiled from several manuscripts 
in German from the missionaries in Labrador, in which 
the alien nation, expelled by the present inhabitants, are 
called partly 'Die Tunnit,' and partly 'Die Gronlaender.' 
Very probably these denominations have arisen from a 
misunderstanding, induced by enquiries put to the 
natives as to their knowing anything about the Green- 
landers. The tunnit are certainly almost identical with 
the tornit or inlanders of the Greenland tales. The 
Eskimo of Cumberland Inlet speak about the ' tunud- 
lermiut,' which signifies people living in the inland. 
The present Indians of Labrador are called by the 
Eskimo of the same country ' aullak,' but it is possible 


they distinguish between these and the traditional or 
fabulous inlanders. However, the most striking incon- 
gruity is that of the tunnit having had their abodes on 
the islands, which looks as if ancient settlers of Euro- 
pean race are hinted at. Be this as it may, the 
tradition of the Labradoreans should be more closely 

In order to find out as much as possible about 
this matter, the historical importance of which will 
be at once realized, I wrote to Bishop Martin, the 
present head of the Moravian Missions on Labrador, 
asking if he could supply any further particulars 
about these ruins, and received the following inter- 
esting reply : " Several times I have heard about ruins 
of old dwelling places upon some islands along our 
coast, but have never yet seen one of them. Whether 
these ruins are really the ruins of old Greenland houses, 
as is stated in the report of Brother Lundberg, or not, 
will be difficult to decide. Once I showed Baron Nor- 
denskiold's book on Greenland to our Eskimo. When they 
saw the pictures of the old Norse houses there, they 
told me at once that some ruins on the islands here are 
very much the same as those given in that book. Since 
that time I have often thought that the Labrador ruins 
might be the ruins of old Norse houses also. That 
would not be unimaginable, for the old Norsemen are 
said to have travelled south to Weinland." 

A subject for investigation is here opened up which 
will hardly be exceeded in interest by any other anthro- 
pological problem to be found in America, 

The Eskimos in Greenland and other places in the 
far north build their houses largely with stones, but if 
the evidence of the Moravian Brethren is of value, these 
ruins are not like the stone huts of the Greenlanders. 


In addition to the fact that the Eskimos disclaim their 
authorship, the description of these old burial places, 
" with a low stone enclosure round the tomb " (evidently 
to protect the dead from prowling beasts), would be 
ample evidence that they are not Eskimos, for it was 
not the custom of this race to show any respect for the 
dead, and their mode of burial was hardly worthy of 
the name. 

What then was this vanished race, and is it possible 
that these ruins are of Norse origin ? 

In that most interesting book just published. The 
North- West Passage, by Captain Roald Amundsen, 
relating the final accomplishment of this voyage by the 
little Gjoa, there is a description of stone ruins at Boothia 
Felix, near the Magnetic Pole, about which the Eskimos 
of the region have a similar tradition to that current on 
Labrador. If the ruins are identical in these two far 
separated localities,^ it is evident that they cannot be 
ascribed to the Norsemen. For however high an 
opinion one may have of these hardy adventurers, one 
cannot attribute to them the power to navigate the 
Arctic seas so far to the westward as Boothia Felix. 

Yet it is a remarkable coincidence to find a tradition 
among the Labrador Eskimos confirming so extra- 
ordinarily the story of the Norse voyagers. 

The traditions of the Greenland Eskimos, relating 
to the Norsemen, date from the early part of the 
fifteenth century only, yet are very fragmentary and 
mingled with fabulous details. Any memories of the 
Norsemen lingering among the Labrador Eskimos 
probably date from the eleventh or twelfth centuries, 

^ Upon my request for further information about these ruins, Capt. 
Amundsen has very kindly written to say that no photographs or drawings 
were made of them, and that they were mere gravel pits. 


and it can hardly be expected therefore that anything 
more that the bare outline of the story would remain 
after such a lapse of time. 

Such as it is, the tradition clearly points to the fact 
that a foreign race, of powerful physique, having cus- 
toms and weapons different from those of the Eskimos, 
at one time lived upon the Labrador, the ruins of whose 
houses still remain ; that they were attacked by the 
Eskimos and driven away northward. 

It is hard to imagine why the Norsemen should have 
left Greenland to settle on Labrador, They did not 
depend for their livelihood on fishing or seal hunting, 
but occupied themselves principally in cattle raising. 
Also the Greenland waters abounded in seals and fish 
almost to as great an extent as did those of Labrador, 

But it may well be that the same adventurous 
spirit which carried them across the northern ocean 
to Iceland and Greenland impelled them farther to 
Labrador, and would have found them permanently 
occupying the American seaboard had they not en- 
countered the savage hordes of Eskimos and been forced 
to retreat. 

The question of the locality of Vinland seems to 
depend largely upon the identity of the Skraelings, In 
order to support the theory which has been advanced 
in favour of Maine and other southern situations, it 
has been argued that in the term Skraelings were 
included the Beothuks of Newfoundland and other 
southern Indian tribes, as well as the Eskimos. But 
it seems to me that every attribute of the savages en- 
countered by the Norsemen is characteristic of the 
Eskimos only. Several have been already referred to, 
but the following point of resemblance has not to my 
knowledge been noted hitherto. 


The first encounter of the Norsemen with the Skral- 
ings is thus described in the saga of Eric the Red : — 
" They saw a great number of skin canoes, and staves 
were brandished from their boats with a noise Hke 
flails, and they were revolved in the same direction in 
which the sun moves." 

Farther on it says : — 

" A great multitude of Skraeling boats were dis- 
covered approaching from the south, and all their staves 
were waved in a direction contrary to the course of 
the sun." 

It is evident that this is an attempt to describe the 
motion of the double-bladed paddle used by the 
Eskimos ; and it will be seen that an Eskimo, sitting 
in his kajak, facing the direction towards which he 
is paddling, when going east or north, will appear to 
wave his paddle contrary to the motion of the sun in 
the heavens, but with it when travelling west or south. 
In the first instance, therefore, they made their appear- 
ance from the north, and in the second instance from 
the south. The action of an Eskimo paddling is 
entirely different from that of a North American Indian, 
who cannot in any sense be said to wave his single- 
bladed paddle in the air. 

Some writers, finding it impossible to dissociate the 
Skraelings from the Eskimos, have suggested that at 
one time the Eskimos were to be found all along the 
American seaboard. This theory is more untenable 
than the other. The whole Eskimo economy was de- 
pendent upon the seal. It formed not only their chief 
food, but also supplied them with clothes, boats, tents, 
etc., and we can be absolutely certain that the habitat of 
the Eskimos has been bounded by that of the seal for 


many ages, and therefore has not had a range farther 
south than the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

Inasmuch as there is no mention of the Eskimos in 
the voyages of Jacques Cartier, and other early navi- 
gators through the Straits of Belle Isle, I am of 
opinion that they did not frequent that locality until 
the latter part of the sixteenth century, and that it was 
the desire to obtain European goods, boats, and iron 
implements which first drew them so far south. While it 
is impossible to associate the Skralings with a southern 
country, it is equally impossible to harmonize Labrador 
with the description of Vinland, and the discussion is 
therefore brought to an impasse. 

The speculation is most interesting, but one can only 
say with Dr. Rink that it is deserving of further in- 

Note. — Dr. Grenfell informs me that he, this summer, 
visited some curious erections of obvious antiquity, built 
of flat slabs of stone, on the summit of lofty cliffs. He 
thought they were look-out places, but could not say by 
whom built. It adds considerably to the interest in 
this speculation that similar look-out places are to be 
found among the Norse ruins in Greenland, where they 
are thought to have been used to keep watch for attacks 
from the Eskimos. 


EARLY five hundred years elapsed after the 
voyages of the Norsemen before Labrador was 
again visited by Europeans. But the memory of Green- 
land had not faded away entirely, and it is probable 
that the tradition of the discovery of Helluland, Mark- 
land, and Vinland had filtered down through the ages 
and formed in part the basis for the many legends of 
fabulous islands lying far out in the Atlantic. 

From the early part of the fifteenth century Iceland 
had been visited regularly by English fishermen,^ prin- 
cipally from the east coast, but also from Bristol, so 
that the story of Greenland and other distant islands 
in the West was probably quite familiar to them. 

But it was from Italy that the bold spirits were to 
come who were to lead the Western European nations 
across the Atlantic. The first to propose the possi- 
bility of reaching China by sailing westward was 

^ In the quaint poem entitled, The Englysh Policy to Keep the Seas, 
written in 1437, the Enghsh trade to Iceland is thus referred to : — 

" Of Iseland to write is little nede 
Save of Stocke Fish. Yet forsooth in deed 
Out of Bristowe and costes many one 
Men have practised by nedle and stone 
Thiderwardes within a little while 
Within twelve year, and without perill 
Gon and come, as men were wont of old 
Of Scarborough unto the costes cold." 



ToscanelH, an Italian physician, and it is from him that 
Columbus is supposed to have taken his inspiration. 
As John Cabot was living in Venice at the same period, 
it is probable that he also heard the theory propounded. 
And when he emigrated to Bristol about 1490, and 
learned of the Iceland voyages continually made by 
English seamen, conceived the idea of himself putting 
the theory to the test. We are told on good authority 
that for seven years prior to the year of the discovery, 
tentative voyages into the Western Ocean had been 
made by Bristol men at his instigation. The success 
of Columbus no doubt impelled him to more deter- 
mined efforts, and in 1496 we find him applying to 
Henry VII for Letters Patent authorizing a voyage 
of discovery. 

No journal was kept of these momentous voyages, 
and no historian of the time realized the importance 
of the events, nor how hungrily the smallest evidence 
would be sought for by the historians of later days. 
Consequently, we have but the most fragmentary 
accounts of them, drawn principally from letters of the 
Ambassadors of European sovereigns at the court of 
England, a few entries in the Customs Roll of Bristol, 
the copies of the charters issued to Cabot and his sons, 
a few brief references in contemporary chronicles, and 
a legend copied from a map since lost. No certain 
history can be compiled from such data, and each 
student forms a theory for himself, according as he is 
swayed by some particular piece of evidence which 
seems to him to have the most weight. 

Fortunately the most important facts are not matters 
of dispute. The following is an attempt to state them 
in the simplest possible form. 

John Cabot was born in Genoa, became a citizen of 

THE CABOTS. 1497 21 

Venice, married there, and emigrated to England, taking 
up his residence in Bristol. 

The first English document which has been found 
relating to him is the Charter granted to him " and his 
sonnys," by Henry VII, of March 5th, 1496. Prefixed 
to the Charter is the following quaint petition: — 

" To the Kyng our souvereigne lord : 

" Please it your highness of your most noble and 
habundant grace, to grant unto John Cabotte, Citizen 
of Venes, Lewes, Sebastyan and Sancto, his sonnys, 
your gracious letters patent vnder your grate seale in 
due forme to be made, according to the tenour here- 
after ensuying. And they shall during their lyves 
pray to God for the prosperous continuance of your 
most noble and royall astate long to enduer." 

These "gracious letters patentes" permitted them 
to fit out an expedition, " at their own proper costs 
and charges," to seek out, discover, and find whatsoever 
islands, countries, etc., of the heathens which were 
unknown to all Christians. The right was conceded 
to them to fly the British flag over any places they 
found, and to occupy " any such places that they were 
able to conquer as our vassals governors lieutenants or 
deputies." For this privilege the said John and his 
sons were bound to the King for one-fifth (Y5) part 
of all the proceeds. 

Fortified with this precious document, John Cabot 
left Bristol, probably on May 2nd, 1497, in a little ship 
called the Matthew with a crew of eighteen men. 
He rounded the south of Ireland, steered a northerly 
course for several days, and then struck boldly west- 
ward, " with the Pole Star on his right hand." On St. 
John the Baptist's Day, June 24th, he made land. 


Early in August he arrived back at Bristol, and on the 
loth the King gave ;!^io " To hym that found the New- 
Isle." This is almost all that can be said about this 
memorable voyage that is not open to controversy. 

The following further particulars are mainly correct. 
The country discovered was seven hundred leagues 
from England. The tides were slack there, and the 
seas were full of fish, the value of which was immediately 
recognized. " And the said Englishmen, his partners, 
say that they can bring so many fish that this kingdom 
will not have any more business v/ith Iceland, and that 
from that country there will be a very great trade in 
the fish they call stock-fish." A prophecy which was 
fulfilled in both particulars, for the Iceland trade gradu- 
ally declined, but the trade in " stock-fish from the new 
isle " goes bravely on to-day. 

One account says he coasted three hundred leagues, 
which is difficult to explain. Then he named an island 
off from the land, the Isle of St. John, which has worried 
commentators enormously ; and again, he is said to 
have seen two islands " to the right " on his way back, 
which has been quite inexplicable until lately, when it 
is said that the Italian letter which gives this informa- 
tion had been badly translated, and the expression 
used means simply " on the way back," the words " to 
the right" being an interpellation. White bears and 
" stagges farre larger than ours" were seen, and both 
have caused floods of controversy. Sebastian Cabot 
told in later years how the bears caught salmon in their 
claws, and was probably looked upon as a romancer 
even in those days. But in Cartwright's Journal of a 
Residence on the Labrador, to be discussed later in 
this history, we shall find the same incident described 
with full detail. 

THE CABOTS. 1497 23 

Cabot, or one of his companions, was rash enough to 
say that " they thought Bresil wood and silke grew 
there," but had they known how this bare suspicion 
was to be fought over and made the groundwork for 
the wildest theories, they would doubtless have been 
more cautious in expressing their opinions. None of 
the natives of the country were seen, but Cabot found 
and brought to the King snares for catching game and 
a needle for making nets, which have also become 
serious controversial points. 

Upon his return to Bristol he was received with such 
adulation that he was completely carried off his feet. 
" The people ran after him like mad," and he was called 
" the great Admiral." He looked far beyond the humble 
codfish, which took the fancy of his English companions, 
and saw visions of a great trade with Cipango (Japan), 
" where all the spices in the world do grow and where 
there are also gems." 

Like Sir John Falstaff, " He dreamed of Africa and 
golden joys." Soncino wrote to the Duke of Milan 
that : " He gave away islands and promised bishop- 
ricks to poor friars," and adds with evident humour : 
" And I, being a friend of the Admiral, if I wished to 
go could have an Archbishoprick." 

The next year Henry VH granted new letters patent 
to John Cabot, this time not including his sons, to make 
another expedition " to the lande and isles of late 
founde by the said John." 

Four or five ships were fitted out, provisioned for 
a year, and "goodes and sleight merchandize" were 
adventured in them. They sailed in the spring ; one 
vessel was at once driven on the coast of Ireland, and that 
is all which can be said for certain regarding this voyage 
from which Cabot and his associates expected so much. 


Only two indisputable references to it have been 
found. The most important is a manuscript in the 
British Museum entitled •* Cronicon regum Angliae, etc." 
There the fitting out of the expedition is described 
" which depted from the West Country in the begynning 
of Somer but to the psent moneth came never know- 
ledge of their exployt." The month referred to is 
made out to be October. The other is a despatch of 
Pedro Ayala, the Spanish Ambassador, dated July 25th, 
1498, which reads : " News has been received of the 
fleet of five ships. The one in which was Brother Buil 
put into Ireland owing to a great storm in which the 
ship was damaged." 

A very important document was found among the 
papers at Westminster Abbey in 1897, the four 
hundredth anniversary of Cabot's memorable voyage, 
and was appropriately exhibited for the first time at the 
Cabot Celebration at Bristol. It was the Customs Roll 
of the Port of Bristol for the years 1496-9. In it is 
the following entry, between the dates September 25th, 
1498, and September 25th, 1499 : " In tho in una tall 
p Johe Calvot XX li," which, being interpreted, means 
that ;^2o was paid for one tally per John Cabot. 

This is considered fair presumptive evidence that he 
did return from his last voyage, but unfortunately it is 
not conclusive. It will be noticed that the payment 
was made for one tally, but by a Special Warrant, issued 
on February 2nd, 1498, three tallies were granted to 
John Cabot because "we be informed the said John 
Caboote is delayed of his payment." These tallies were 
practically promissory notes, and were negotiable, and 
therefore the payment might not have been made to 
John Cabot in person. 

No amount of industry has unearthed any further 

THE CABOTS. 1497 25 

account of the voyage of 1498, or any other incident of 
John Cabot's history. Until quite lately the stories told 
by Sebastian Cabot of a voyage to the far north were 
applied to the voyage of 1498, but some recent authori- 
ties consider it probable that they refer to a later ex- 
pedition, probably in 1 508. 

In explanation of John Cabot's entire disappearance 
from history, it has been suggested that he returned a 
discredited and disappointed man, his magnificent visions 
dispelled, and his friends put to serious losses through 
their trust in him. Under such circumstances it can be 
easily seen how quickly he would drop out of memory. 
The only reference to the death of John Cabot which 
has been found is in one of the reputed utterances of 
Sebastian Cabot, who is reported as saying that his 
father died about the time of the discoveries of Colum- 
bus, which is too obviously untrue even for Sebastian to 
have ventured on. 

Even the fame which should have been his seems to 
have been appropriated by Sebastian. Richard Eden 
and Peter Martyr both knew Sebastian Cabot intimately, 
and both wrote accounts of his voyages, but John 
Cabot's share in them is not mentioned. The glory of 
discovering the new found land was given to Sebastian 
only. But time has its revenges, and for this unfilial 
act, combined with a tendency to boast, Sebastian has 
received a severe castigation at the hands of recent his- 
torians, and John Cabot is now firmly settled in his 
rightful place as the first European to set foot upon the 
mainland of America. That is, provided he made his 
landfall upon some part of the Labrador, as some think, 
or that Newfoundland and Cape Breton shall be con- 
sidered as the mainland, if either of those islands were 
the first to receive his foot. 


No attempt can be made here to give all the particu- 
lars of the controversy which has raged over the prob- 
able landfall of Cabot, but in order that some apprecia- 
tion of it may be arrived at by the ordinary reader, the 
principal controversial points are recited. 

As an example of the confusion which has arisen on 
this point, witness the contradictory statements for 
which " the industrious Hakluyt " is responsible. The 
map of Emeric Molyneux, issued with the 1599 edition 
of Divers' Voyages, states regarding Labrador : " This 
land was discovered by John and Sebastian Cabot for 
King Henry VII, 1497." In Hakluyt's MS., 1584, in 
the library of the late Sir Thos. Phillips, he says, refer- 
ring to Cabot's " owne mappe " : " In which mappe in 
the chapiter of Newfoundland there in Latin is put 
down — the very day and the first land which they saw." 
But when the so-called Cabot map was finally found it 
states that the landfall was at Cape Breton and not in 

It is also clear from the evidence of Sir Humphrey 
Gilbert and Richard Willes, who had both seen Cabot's 
map, that it differed in a marked degree in respect to the 
Arctic regions from the Sebastian Cabot map of 1544, 
now extant. 

The greatest authority of the present day on the 
voyages of the Cabots and the cartographical evolution 
of America is M. Henri Harrisse. It is not too much 
to say that he has spent a lifetime in the study of these 
and kindred subjects, his many publications spreading 
over a period of more than forty years. Very many 
important facts have been discovered and made public 
by him. He is especially harsh in his judgment of 
Sebastian Cabot, whose character he sums up in the 
expressive words ^' pienteur fieffeT In his latest book 

THE CABOTS. 1497 27 

on the subject, Decouverte de Terre Neiive, Paris, 1900, 
M. Harrisse deals exhaustively with the early voyages 
to Newfoundland and the neighbouring countries, critic- 
ally examines all the early maps, and gives an invaluable 
dated nomenclature. 

Of Cabot's landfall he writes as follows : " The un- 
biased critic therefore does not know, has no means 
of knowing, and probably never will know, exactly 
where Cabot landed in 1497 and 1498." 

In h\s John and Sebastian Cabot, 1882, he pronounced 
in favour of a Labrador landfall. In his Discovery of 
America, 1892, he took an extreme view, and thought 
the landfall of 1497 might have been at Cape Chidley ; 
and in his John Cabot, 1896, he thinks the south-eastern 
part of Labrador, near Sandwich Bay, the favoured spot. 

A powerful argument against the Cape Chidley theory, 
and one that the writer has not seen advanced hereto- 
fore, is that the tides are very strong there, rising and 
falling about thirty-five feet, whereas Cabot reported of 
the country he had discovered that the " tides were very 

The principal arguments advanced in favour of a 
Labrador landfall are as follows : — 

1. That the course taken by Cabot, first sailing 
northerly for some days after rounding the south of 
Ireland, and then westerly " with the Pole Star on the 
right hand," would naturally take him to Labrador. 

2. Many maps of the early sixteenth century, some 
of them drawn under the superintendence of Sebastian 
Cabot, state that the Labrador region was discovered 
by the English.^ 

^ Mr. J. P. Howley, Geological Surveyor of Newfoundland, has always 
held the opinion that Cabot first landed on Labrador, and has written 
several able articles in favour of it. 


The following seem to be the principal arguments 
against this theory : — 

1. The influence of the Arctic current and the varia- 
tion of the compass would have caused Cabot to make 
a much more southerly course than he intended. 
Elaborate calculations have been made by Sir Clement 
Markham and Dr. S. E. Dawson as to the variations 
of the compass at that time, and they arrive at 
very different conclusions. M. Harisse contends, how- 
ever, that there are no data available now for such 

2. No mention is made of ice having been met on the 
first voyage, and it is unlikely that he could have 
reached any part of the Labrador coast on June 24th 
without passing great quantities of it, or that he could 
have failed to record it if he had seen it. But it is not 
impossible. On many occasions the ships of the 
Moravian Brethren have reached the coast without 
passing through ice, and on one notable occasion made 
land near Nain, June 24th, 1772. 

3. It has been argued that fish do not strike in on the 
Labrador coast as early as June 24th (equal to July 3rd, 
new style). Which is true as a general thing, but 
occasionally they appear much earlier. Lieut. Chimmo 
reports in 1867 that fish struck in at Ice Tickle, about 
54° N,, on June loth, before any vessel had arrived on 
the coast. 

4. M. Harrisse thinks the La Cosa map of 1500 was 
drawn from reports of Cabot's voyage, and while quite 
imaginary as to coastline, the nomenclature found on 
it indicates that Cabot made his landfall west or south, 
and coasted towards the east or north. If the landfall 
was at Sandwich Bay, how then could he have coasted 
three hundred leagues north, as one account states? 

THE CABOTS. 1497 29 

5. As to the legend on the early maps, that Labrador 
was discovered by the English, it will be demonstrated 
in a later chapter that the name was probably derived 
from the fact of its being first sighted by John 
Fernandez in the Anglo-Azorean Expedition of 1501, 
and Cabot's voyage might not therefore have occa- 
sioned the continual repetition of the statement, al- 
though in some maps the discovery is specifically 
stated to have been made by John and Sebastian 

6, Cabot saw none of the inhabitants of the country 
he discovered, but found traces of them, and brought 
back with him "snares for game and needles for making 
nets." Harrisse considers this to indicate the regular 
occupation of the Eskimos. But this is an entirely 
erroneous idea. Every authority states that the Eskimos 
are inhabitants of the seashore, and derive their susten- 
ance almost entirely from seals and whales. On the 
Labrador the Eskimos were in the habit of making two 
excursions into the interior each year after reindeer, 
which were sometimes killed with bow and arrow, but 
generally were driven into the lakes or rivers and there 
speared. The Eskimos had no knowledge of catching 
salmon or trout by means of nets, and had to be 
instructed in the art by the Moravian missionaries in 

Cartwright, who made the acquaintance of the 
southern Eskimos after they had had some intercourse 
with Europeans and knew the articles which were most 
in demand for barter, says the Eskimos " do not trouble 
themselves to catch furs, not being furnished with traps, 
nor do they understand the use of deathfalls," He 
points out that the Eskimos had no stimulus to 
industry beyond providing the necessaries of life, which 


the seal furnished almost entirely. That the catching 
of furred animals was so fatiguing and precarious, and 
the carcase so small, that, v/ere he to give up his time 
to the business, his family must perish with hunger. 
Among the implements of the Eskimos which have been 
many times carefully described, snares and nets are not 

While it is somewhat foreign to this history, the rival 
claims of Newfoundland and Cape Breton must also be 
explained in order to estimate the value of the Labrador 
theory. The principal arguments in favour of a landfall 
at Cape Breton are : — 

1. The statement on the so-called Sebastian Cabot 
map of 1 544, that Cape Breton was the land first seen. 

2. That the La Cosa map depicts the south coast of 
Newfoundland, "Cavodescubierto" being*' Cape Breton" 
and " Cavo de Inglaterra," " Cape Race." 

3. That the climate of Cape Breton more nearly 
answers to the description given by Cabot of the land 
he visited. 

Which arguments are thus rebutted : — 

1. That it is almost impossible for Cabot, even if he 
did not make Labrador, to have missed Newfoundland, 
taking the course he did, and if by any chance he passed 
out of sight of Cape Race, he could hardly have arrived 
at Cape Breton, which is but forty miles south and 
four hundred miles west of it. If Cabot steered a 
westerly course by compass and passed south of Cape 
Race, the variation would have carried him south not 
only of Cape Breton, but of Nova Scotia also. 

2. That the so-called Sebastian Cabot map of 1544 

^ Permanent stone fox-traps, for taking Ihc animals alive, of very 
ancient date, are found in many places on Labrador. 

THE CABOTS. 1497 31 

is a most inferior production, that it was engraved at 
Antwerp not under Cabot's supervision, although he 
may have suppHed information for it. That the 
nomenclature is limited and very incorrect, and the out- 
lines already antiquated. And that Cabot is equally 
responsible for the statement on other maps that 
Labrador was the country discovered by him and his 

3, That Cape Breton does not differ from New- 
foundland in general characteristics, and neither of 
them, any more than Labrador, answer fully to the 
climatic conditions described by Cabot. 

The theory that Newfoundland was the country first 
seen by Cabot has been generally accepted for centuries, 
and in fact never was questioned until the finding of 
the so-called Cabot map in 1843. 

Apart from this tradition, if so it may be called, the 
arguments advanced for it are : — - 

1. Its position making it the natural landfall. 

2. Its name, having been called " the new found isle," 
or some similar term by the English, and " Terre Neuve " 
by the French from the very earliest times. It must 
be admitted, however, that for a long time the term was 
used to denote the north-east coast of America generally, 
and only more recently became the distinctive appella- 
tion of our Newfoundland. 

3. Many early maps also give it the name "Bacalaos," 
which one account says Cabot bestowed on the country 
he found. 

4. It is Newfoundland which has always been par- 
ticularly celebrated for its wealth of fish. 

5. On the map drawn by Mason, 1625, the statement 
is made that Cape Bonavlsta was "a Caboto primum 


reperta," which also appears on a French MS. map by 
Du Pont of about the same date, but does not so clearly 
refer to Bonavista. The significance of the name 
" Bonavista " has also been advanced in support of this 

The name " Bonavista " first appears on the fragment 
of a map by Viegas, 1534, as Boavista, On the 
Riccardina map, which is an exact copy of the Viegas 
map so far as the latter goes, but shows in addition the 
northern parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, the 
name " Boavista " also appears on the Labrador coast. 
But the name was probably in use long before it 
appeared on a map, as Jacques Cartier refers to it in the 
narrative of his first voyage, before the Viegas map was 
printed. The theory which seems most likely to be 
accepted is that Cabot made land on the east coast of 
Newfoundland, in the vicinity of Bonavista or Trinity 
Bay, and that he then coasted northwards until possibly 
he reached Hamilton Inlet on the Labrador, which he 
might have done in ten days, and yet have ample time 
to get back to Bristol early in August. 

Since the reign of Elizabeth, England has claimed 
Newfoundland and Labrador by virtue of their dis- 
covery by Cabot. 



THE continued increase in the knowledge of New- 
foundland and Labrador, as shown by the maps 
still extant, is satisfactory evidence that many voyages 
were made thither between 1500 and 1534, but history 
has preserved the names of very few of the voyagers or 
the particular localities visited. 

The whole of the north-east coast of America was for 
a long period termed the " Newlands," " Terre Neuve," 
or some similar designation. Even in 1534 we find 
Jacques Cartier writing both of Newfoundland and 
Labrador as " Terre Neuve," at the moment he was 
in the act of proving that they were two separate and 
distinct countries. 

The splendid additions which were made to the 
domains of Spain, as a result of the discoveries 
of Columbus, were viewed by King Emmanuel of 
Portugal with jealous eyes, and when the news of 
Cabot's successful voyage towards the north-west 
reached Portugal, he determined at once to despatch 
an expedition of discovery in that direction. The hope 
of finding a north-west passage to the East was of 
particular interest to him, as that portion of the globe had 
been kindly assigned to him by the Treaty of Tordesillas, 
Caspar Corte Real, son of the Governor of Terceiras, one 
of the Azores islands, was chosen by the King to com- 
D 33 


mand the expedition. He was persona grata at the 
Portuguese Court, a man of ability and daring, who had 
already made a voyage in the proposed direction. 

Corte Real set sail in the spring of 1500 and arrived 
within sight of land, but was prevented from reaching 
it by the quantities of ice which lay upon the coast. 
This land is thought by some to have been Greenland, 
but was undoubtedly Labrador. Nothing daunted, he 
started again on May 19th, 1501, with three vessels, 
and finally arrived at a country near the land he had 
seen on the preceding voyage. The country now dis- 
covered was Newfoundland, and his landfall was about 
lat. 50 N. in some part of Notre Dame Bay. There 
were fine rivers in this Newland, one of which they 
ascended in their boats, and remarked upon the magnifi- 
cent pines which grew upon the banks " fit for the 
masts of the largest vessels," They found the waters 
abounding in salmon, herring, and stockfish, and saw 
numbers of large stags and other animals. Corte Real 
called the country Terre Verde, a name which the locality 
still bears. Green Bay being the common name for 
Notre Dame Bay, and one of the smaller arms of the 
sea also being called Bay Verte. 

But what seemed to please the Portuguese more than 
the riches of the sea and forest, was that the country 
was thickly peopled. Visions of a profitable slave 
trade immediately dawned upon them, inflaming their 
imaginations to such an extent that they seized fifty- 
seven men and women and children, and bore them 
away to spend the rest of their lives as slaves in Portugal. 
The neighbourhood of the Exploits river was always the 
principal haunt of the Beothuks, the original inhabitants 
of Newfoundland. And there can be no doubt, from the 
description given of these unfortunate captives by eye- 


witnesses of their arrival in Portugal, that they belonged 
to that much wronged race. 

No doubt this great crime committed against them 
on their first encounter with the white race aroused 
that spirit of hostility and suspicion which ever after 
militated against the establishment of peaceful relations 
with them. 

The country reached by Corte Real in 1501 being 
Newfoundland, the adjacent coast seen by him in the 
previous year was undoubtedly Labrador. 

Two of Corte Real's ships returned safely to Portugal, 
but the ship which he himself commanded was never 
again heard of. This caused the King so much dis- 
tress, that two years later he despatched Miguel Corte 
Real, with three ships, to find out what had become of 
his brother. Arriving at Newfoundland they separated, 
after agreeing upon a time and place of rendezvous, to 
search the coast north and south for traces of Gaspar. 
At the appointed time two ships returned, but that 
commanded by Miguel Corte Real never arrived, and 
tradition says was lost in the Straits of Belle Isle, 
for which reason Belle Isle was originally called the 
Island of Bad Fortune. The country was called by the 
King of Portugal "the land of the Corte Reals," and 
was bestowed upon that family by a Royal grant, which 
was continually renewed until the year 1579. That the 
Portuguese at once began to carry on a fishery in a 
commercial manner in the new prolific fishing grounds 
is proven by the fact that in 1506 King Emmanuel 
issued an edict ordering that one-tenth of the proceeds 
from the fishing voyages should be paid into the Royal 

In 1 52 1, letters patent granted to Joao Alvarez 
Fagundez refer to many previous voyages made 


from Viana, some of which apparently penetrated into 
the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and in 1527 we have John 
Rut's letter telling of the presence of two Portuguese 
ships in the harbour of St. John's. 

The French records tell of a voyage made in 1506 
by one John Dennys, and in 1508 four vessels were 
fitted out in Rouen for Terre Neuve. In 15 10 the 
vessel Jacquette arrived at Rouen to sell fish caught 
in Terre Neuve, and in 1 5 1 1 letters patent were granted 
to Juan de Agramonte, " to discover the secret of the 
new land." 

A book called the Chronicles of Eusebius, published 
by Henry Estienne in Paris, in 15 12, describes seven 
savages who had been brought to Rouen from the 
country called Terre Neuve. There can be no doubt 
that the French fishermen, particularly from Normandy 
and Brittany, greatly preponderated in the fisheries of 
Newfoundland and Labrador during the sixteenth cen- 
tury. The New Interbide, 15 17, to be quoted fully later, 
laments that while the English were neglecting the 
countries discovered by them, *' full a hundred sail," of 
the French loaded with fish there every year. While 
some allowance must be made for poetic licence, it was 
no doubt mainly correct. John Rut encountered eleven 
Norman vessels in the harbour of St. John's in August, 
1527, and the St. Maloins showed by their opposition 
to Jacques Cartier in 1533 that they carried on a regu- 
lar fishery in the Straits of Belle Isle, and probably in 
the Gulf of St. Lawrence as well. In Edward VI's 
Journal of his reign, he mentions that the French Am- 
bassador informed him that the Emperor of Spain "had 
stayed certain French ships going fishing to Newfound- 

The Spanish do not appear to have given any atten- 


tion to the northern parts of the American coast. In 
1 501 the Spanish King gave orders to Alonso de Hojeda 
to take steps to frustrate the attempts of the EngHsh 
in the North West, but after the voyages of the Corte 
Reals made it plain that the greater part of the sea- 
board of Newfoundland and Labrador lay to the east- 
ward of the line of demarcation, agreed to at the Treaty 
of Tordesillas, and consequently outside of the Spanish 
sphere of influence, they took no further interest in those 

It has already been stated that nothing is known for 
certain of John Cabot after the sailing of his second 
expedition in 1498, and it is generally supposed that his 
death took place shortly after his return. Be this as it 
may, after an interval of little more than two years we 
find that his letters patent were superseded by new 
letters patent, granted by Henry VII, on March 19th, 
1501. The recipients were three merchants of Bristol — 
Richard Ward, Thomas Ashehurst, and John Thomas, 
and three natives of the Azores — Joao Fernandez, Fran- 
cisco Fernandez, and Joao Gonzales. Privileges were 
granted to them similar to those previously granted 
to Cabot. The term was ten years, and it was signifi- 
cantly added, " Let none of our subjects turn them from 
their lands ... by virtue of any previous grant made 
by Us to any foreignor or foreignors, etc." 

No account of this expedition is preserved beyond 
the fact that it returned in January, 1502, for on 
January 7th we find that Henry VII granted "To men 
of Bristoll that founde Thisle £$•" 

On September 26th, 1502, there is an entry in the 
Privy Purse " To the merchants of Bristoll that have 
been in the Newe Founde Lande ;£"20." 

On December 6th, 1503, Henry VII issued a warrant 


for the payment of a pension of £10 per annum, which 
had already been granted in 1502, " unto our trusty and 
well beloved subjectts ffraunceys ffernandus and John 
Guidisalvus squiers in consideration of the true service 
which they have doon unto us to our singular pleasure 
as capitaignes unto the newe founde lande." The first 
payment made under the grant referred to was no doubt 
that of ^20 named above. 

Another item of information, which must be referred 
to this voyage, is contained in Stowe^s Annals and in 
Hakluyfs Voyages. They both quote from Fabyans 
Chronicle, but differ as to the date of the occurrence. 
Hakluyt at first places it in the seventeenth year of 
Henry VI Fs reign, and afterwards in the fourteenth, 
while Stowe says it was in the eighteenth. It is more 
reasonable to suppose that the first named date was the 
correct one, which would be between August 22nd, 1501, 
and August 22nd, 1502. 

Hakluyfs account reads as follows : " Of three 
savage men which hee (Sebastian Cabot) brought home 
and presented unto the King in the 17th year of his 

" This yeere also were brought unto the King three 
men, taken in the newe founde Island, that before I 
spake of in William Purchas time being Maior. These 
were clothed in beastes skinnes and ate raw flesh, and 
spake such speeche that no man coulde understand 
them, and in their demeanour like to bruite beastes, 
whom the King kept a time after. Of the which upon 
two years past I saw apparelled after the manner of 
Englishmen in Westminster Pallace, which at that time 
I could not distinguish from Englishmen, till I was 
learned what they were. But as for speeche, I heard 
none of them utter one word." 


The fact of their eating raw flesh declares them to 
have been Eskimos, and consequently that they were 
almost certainly taken from Labrador. It is also 
certain, as will be abundantly proved later, that the 
name Labrador was bestowed upon the country because 
it was first sighted by Joao Fernandez. How it came 
to pass that Sebastian Cabot was chosen to present 
these three Eskimos at Court cannot be explained. 
But it seems reasonable to suppose that Warde, 
Ashehurst, and Thomas, John and Francis Fernandez 
Guidisalvus, Hugh Elliott and William Thorne, had, 
some or all of them, accompanied John Cabot in his 
voyages 1497 and 1498, that Sebastian had also accom- 
panied his father and afterwards formed one of the 
crew of the subsequent expeditions from Bristol. 

On December 9th, 1502, Henry VH again issued 
letters patent to Thomas Ashehurst, Joao Gonzales, 
Francisco Fernandez, and Hugh Elliott, authorizing 
another expedition, and granting privileges of trade 
for forty years. On January 7th previous, a payment 
of ;^20 had been made to Robert and William Thorne 
and Hugh Elliott, of Bristol, who having bought a 
French ship of 120 tons, "wit the same ship the same 
merchants offre to doe unto us service at all times at 
our commandment." The connecting link between 
these two records is furnished by Robert Thome's letter 
to Henry VH, written from Seville in 1527, in which 
he says : " I reason that as some sicknesses are heredi- 
tarious and come from father to sonne, so this 
inclination or desire for discoveries I inherited from 
my father, which with another merchant of Bristowe 
named Hugh Eliot were the discoverers of the New- 
foundlands of the which there is no doubt (as now 
plainly appeareth) if the mariners would then have 


bene ruled and followed their pilot's mind, the landes 
of the West Indies (where all the gold cometh from) 
would have been ours, for all is one coast as by the card 
appeareth," How this would have been accomplished 
is not so plain to us as it appeared to Robert Thorne. 

The following entry, taken from the Public Records, 
no doubt refers to this voyage of 1503. November 
17th, 1503, "To one that brought haukes from the 
Newfound island ^i." 

And the following would indicate voyages made in 
1504 and 1505 : April 8th, 1504, "To a Priste going 
to the New Island £2!' 

August 25th, 1505, "To Clays going to Richmond 
wit wyld catts and popyngays of the Newfound Isle for 
his costs 13s. 4d." 

September 25th, 1505, "To Portuzals that brought 
popyngays and cattes of the mountaigne with other 
stuff to the Kings Grace ^^5." 

It is thus apparent that the people of Bristol were 
at once aroused to great enthusiasm by the discoveries 
of Cabot, and immediately took steps to utilize them. 

Sebastian Cabot's history at that time cannot be 
accurately determined, Peter Martyr, Gomara, and 
many others report speeches and statements made by 
him, which recent commentators conclude were actually 
so made in the words in which they were recorded, and 
because of their contradictory nature his reputation 
has been assailed in the most uncompromising manner. 
All the apparently contradictory statements have been 
ascribed to him, and none to the inattention, forgetful- 
ness, or carelessness of the chroniclers themselves, 
whereas one of the most common frailties of human 
nature is the difficulty of repeating a story exactly as 
it has been heard. Sebastian Cabot seems to have been 


of a boastful nature, and to have spoken more of his 
own achievements than of those of his father, but that 
is hardly sufficient reason for the entire discredit which 
has been cast upon him by many recent writers. If he 
was the liar and impostor which these would have us 
believe, he seems to have been more successful in his 
day and generation than such characters generally are. 
His services were highly valued by England in his early 
manhood, and were so generally known that Spain 
intrigued until they were secured for her benefit. For 
thirty-seven years he filled the highest posts in the 
Spanish Marine, and when he transferred his services 
again to England, where he also occupied high office, 
the strongest representations were made by Spain 
insisting that he should be sent back. At intervals 
during this period the Council of Ten at Venice also 
were on the alert to take him from both of them. It is 
hardly probable that they were all deceived, and our 
modern historians only able to form a just estimate of 
his character and ability. 

Sebastian Cabot several times referred to a voyage or 
voyages other than the original voyage of discovery, 
but the accounts differ so much that it is impossible to 
reconcile them or to determine when they took place. 
They have been referred to voyages in 1498, 1508, 
and 1 5 17. The 1498 voyage has already been dis- 
cussed. In support of a voyage which took place in 
1508, there are two entirely independent and circum- 
stantial accounts, to which some credit must be given. 
The first is contained in a report read by Mercantorio 
Contarini before the Senate at Venice in 1536, and is as 
follows : — 

" Sebastian Cabot, the son of a Venetian, who repaired 
to England in galleys from Venice with the notion of 


going in search of countries, obtained two ships from 
Henry King of England, the father of the present 
Henry, who has become a Lutheran and even worse ; 
navigated with three hundred men until he found the 
sea frozen. He was obliged therefore to turn back 
without having accomplished his object, with the in- 
tention of renewing the attempt when the sea was not 
frozen. But upon his return he found the King dead, 
and his son caring little for such an enterprise." 

Henry VH died on April, 2ist, 1509, and the voyage 
referred to must have been made in the previous year, 
1508. Contarini had undoubtedly met Sebastian Cabot 
in Spain and obtained his information from his own 
lips, but as usual did not tell the story clearly and 
completely. The account of the date of the voyage, 
however, seems quite circumstantial. 

The other statement regarding a voyage made by 
Sebastian Cabot in 1508 is found in George Best's 
account of Frobisher's voyage, published in 1578. 
He says : — 

"Sebastian Cabot, being an Englishman borne at 
Bristowe, was by commandment of King Henry VH 
in anno 1508 furnished with shipping munition and 
men, and sayled along that tract (which now is called 
Baccalaos) pretending to discover the passage to 
Cataya and went aland in many places and brought 
home sundry of the people, and sundry other things 
of that country in token of possession, being (I say) the 
first Christian that ever set foote on land." 

There seems to be no possibility that Best derived 
his information from Contarini's statement, and it 
seems quite too extraordinary a coincidence for them 
both to have made the same mistake ; therefore, 


unless a mutual source of error can be traced, it must 
be assumed that each had good authority for what 
they stated. 

Sir Humphrey Gilbert, writing in 1 566, quotes from 
Sebastian Cabot's chart " yet to be seen in the Queens 
Majesties Privie Gallery at Whitehall, who was sent to 
make this discoverie by Henry VH and entered the 
same fret, affirming that he sayled very farre Westward 
with a quarter of the North on the north side of Terre 
de Labrador, the eleventh day of June, until he came to 
the septentrional latitude of 6^^ degrees, and finding 
the sea still open said that he might and would have 
gone to Cataia if the mutiny of the masters and 
mariners had not been." 

Either the date or the latitude is incorrect in this 
statement, but it does not necessarily follow that the 
misstatement was Cabot's. 

Ramusio, Peter Martyr, and Gomara all tell of a 
voyage to the Arctic regions under Sebastian Cabot's 
command. But we can only notice here the account 
given by that " learned and painful writer " Richard 
Eden, in the prefatory letter to his translation of Sebas- 
tian Munster, in 1553. He says: — 

"If merely manly courrage had not been wanting at 
such time as our soverign lord of noble memorie King 
Henry VHI, about the same yeare of his reign, 
furnished and sent out certain ships under the govern- 
ance of Sebastian Cabot yet living and Sir Thos. Pert 
whose faint heart was the cause the voyage tooke 
none effect." 

This is the only reference that has been found to a 
voyage in the year 15 16-17. Hakluyt evidently gives 
gives credit to it, and Purchas, referring to it, writes: 


" A second time Sir Thos. Pert and the said Cabota 
were set forth with a fleet to America by King Henry 
VIII in the eight yere of his reign," but he nowhere 
refers to a .'previous voyage conducted by them. It 
will be noticed that the reference to the date in Eden's 
letter is somewhat ambiguous, or at least very peculiarly 
expressed. Generally speaking, the sentence, " about 
the same year of his reign," would be taken to mean 
that it was the same year as that on which some other 
event had taken place, but in this instance, wanting 
some such explanation, it has been concluded that the 
adjective " same " refers to the numeral " eight," which 
is by no means a convincing explanation. It is much 
more likely that " same " is a printer's error for " first," ^ 

In any case the voyage could not have taken place in 
1 5 17, as Cabot transferred his services to Spain in 15 12, 
was certainly there on November 13th, 15 15, was made 
Pilot Major February 9th, 15 18, and it is very improb- 
able that he could have accepted employment from 
Henry VIII in the interval. Sir Thomas Pert is also 
recorded as being in the Thames in July, 1517, ballast- 
ing his vessel. 

The earliest reference to the discovery of America 
which has been found in English literature occurs in 
a little drama entitled, A newe interlude and a niery of 
the iiij elements declaryinge inany proper points of philo- 
sophy natural, the only copy of which is in the British 
Museum. It is somewhat imperfect, having lost the 
colophon, and it is therefore impossible to sa)^ exactly 
when it was printed, but a note, in the handwriting 
of David Garrick, states in regard to it, " First im- 

^ Mr. Geo. Parker Winship, author of the very excellent Cabot 
Bibliogi-aphy , is a strong believer in a voyage made by Sebastian Cabot 
in 1508. 


pressions dated 25th Oct., 11 Henry VIII," which would 
be in the year 1519-20. 

The lines referring to the New World are as follows : — 

And northwarde on this syde 

There lyeth Iselonde wher men do fyshe 

But beyonde that so cold it is 

No man may there abyde 

This see is called the great Oceyan 

So great it is that never man 

Coude tell it sith the worlde began 

Tyll nowe within this xx yere 

Westwarde be founde new landes 

That we neuer harde tell of before this 

By wrytynge nor other meanys 

Yet many nowe haue been there 

And that contrey is so large of rome 

Muche lenger than all cristendome 

Without fable or gyle 

For dyuers maryners haue it tryed 

And sayled streyght by the coste syde 

Aboue V. thousand myle 

But what commodytes be within 

No man can tell nor well imagyn 

But yet not longe a go 

Some men of this contrey went 

By the kynges noble consent 

It for to serche to that extent 

And coude not be brought therto 

But they that were the ventere (r)s 

Haue cause to curse their maryners 

Fals of promys and dissemblers 

That falsly them betrayed 

Which wolde take no pain to saile farther 

Than their own lyst and pleasure 

Wherefore that vyage and dyuers others 

Suche kaytyffes haue distroyed 

O what thynge a had be than 

Yf that they that be englyshe men 

Myght haue been the furst of all 

That there shulde haue take possessyon 

And made furst buyldynge and habytacion 

A memory perpetuall 

And also what an honorable thynge 

Bothe to the realme and to the kynge 

To haue had his domynyon extendynge 


There into so farre a grounde 

Whiche the noble kynge of late menory 

The most wyse prince the vij. He(n)ry 

Caused furst for to be founde 

And what a great meritoryouse deed 

It were to haue the people instructed 

To lyue more vertuously 

And to lerne to knowe of men the maner 

And also to knowe god their maker 

Whiche as yet lyue all be(a)stly 

For they nother god or the deuell 

Nor neuer harde tell of heuyn nor hell 

Wrytynge nor other scripture 

But yet in the stede of god almyght 

They honour the sonne for his great lygght 

For that doth them great pleasure 

Buyldynge nor house they haue none at all 

But wodes cotes and caues small 

No marueyle though it be so 

For they vse no maner of yron 

Nother in tolle nor other wepon 

That shulde help them therto 

Copper they haue which is founde 

In dyuers places aboue the grounde 

Yet they dig not therfore 

For as I sayd they haue none yron 

Wherby they shuld in the yerth myne 

To serche for any wore 

Great haboundance of vvoddes ther be 

Moste parte vyr and pyne aple tre 

Great ryches myght come therby 

Bothe pytche and tarre and sope asshys 

As they make in the eest landes 

By brynnying therof only 

Fyshe they haue so great plente 

That in hauyns take and slayne they be 

With stauys withouten sayle 

Nowe frenchemen and other haue founden the trade 

That yerely of fyshe there they lade 

A boue an C. sayle. 

But this newe lande founde lately 
Ben called America by cause only 
Americus did first them fynde. 

These verses are full of suggestiveness, and display 
a popular knowledge of the New World in England at 


that period ; but we are only concerned here with the 
reference to a voyage to the northern coasts of America, 
undertaken by the English, which was brought to nought 
by the mutiny of the sailors. This making the fourth 
reference to an incident of that kind. 

It does not seem probable that they all refer to the 
same occasion. One would be inclined to suppose that 
Thorne referred in his letter to one of the earlier 
voyages, probably that of 1501-2. The others, how- 
ever, point to a later date, and it is allowable to surmise 
that they all three refer to the voyage of 1508-9, in 
which Sebastian Cabot, possibly assisted by Sir 
Thomas Pert, sailed along the Newfoundland and 
Labrador coast and penetrated some distance into 
Hudson Strait, but owing to Sir Thomas Pert's " want 
of stomacke" was prevented, as he thought, from reach- 
ing Cathay. Turning south, he coasted down to Florida 
and thence returned to England. It must be conceded, 
in any case, that such a voyage took place, and the 
duration of the voyage, recorded by Contarini, from the 
spring of 1508 to April 22nd, 1509, is the only 
account we have which would permit of such an exten- 
sive exploratory expedition. The probability that 
Sebastian Cabot entered Hudson Strait is deduced 
from Sir Humphrey Gilbert's account given above, and 
also from that of Richard Willes written about the 
same time. The latter is most circumstantial, describ- 
ing a strait depicted on Sebastian Cabot's map " which 
the Earl of Bedford hath at Cheines," between sixty- 
one and sixty-four degrees north latitude, into which 
Cabot penetrated for some distance : but no such strait 
is found on the so-called Sebastian Cabot map of 1544- 

After this date there is no record of an English 
expedition actually having taken place until 1527. 


But the English marine was steadily growing, and the 
English Navy was making itself felt in the " narrow " 
seas. In 15 13, it is recorded that the merchants of 
Bristol owned a fleet of nine vessels of over one 
hundred tons each, which were bound to do a service 
to the Crown when called upon. Seeing the interest 
taken by the people of Bristol in the New Lands in the 
opening years of the century, it is safe to assume that 
some of these vessels were employed in the trade which 
they had discovered. 

In 1521, Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey decided 
that an expedition " be prepared for a viage to be made 
to the newe founde land. . . . The Drapers Company 
to furnish V shippes. The King's Grace to prepare 
them in takyll ordinaunce and all other necessaries at 
his charge. And also the King to bere the adventor. 
The michauntts and companys to be at the charge of 
vitaylling and mannys wages, for one whole yere and 
the shippes not to be above VI score ton apeice." In 
reply, the Drapers Company declared that the King 
and his Councillors " were duely and substauncially 
informed in such man'^ and as perfite knowledge myghte 
be had by credible reports of maisters and maryners 
naturally born within this realm, of England having 
experiences and exercises in and about the afore said 
lande as wele in knowledge of the lande, the due course 
of the waye thithwards and homeward as in knowledge of 
the havens dayngers and sholds there upon that coast that 
then it were lesse jeopardy to adventure thither than it 
is now al though it be furder hens than few English 
maryners can tell. 

" And we think it were to sore advent to jeoperd V 
shippes with men and goodes unto the Island uppon the 
singular trust of one man called as we understoned 


Sebastyan whiche Sebastyan as we here say was never 
in that lande himself, all if he makes reporte of many 
things as he hath heard his father and other men speake 
in tymes past. 

" And also we say that if Sebastyan had bene 
there and were as conying a man in and for those 
parties as any man myghte be having none assistants 
of maisters and maryners of England exercised and 
labored in the same p'ties for to guyd three shippes and 
other charges than we knowe of but onely trusting to 
the said Sebastyan we suppose it were no wysdome to 
adventr lyves and good thither in suche manr., what for 
fear of syknes or dethe of the said Sebastyan." 

Sebastian Cabot was in England at the time this 
protest against him was made. We read that one John 
Goderyck of Foley was paid 43s. 4d. " for his 
charge costes and labour conductying of Sebastian 
Cabot, master of the Pilattes, in Spain to London." 

So far as is known, the expedition never sailed. 

It is not easy to understand the exact purport of 
this reply of the Drapers' Company, beyond the fact 
that they were unwilling to furnish the ships required 
by Wolsey and were searching for excuses. Wolsey 
was chaplain to the Marquis of Dorset at the time of 
John Cabot's discoveries, and must have been fully 
acquainted with all the particulars connected with them. 
That he should have judged Sebastian Cabot competent 
to command this expedition goes far to counterbalance 
the unfavourable opinion of the London merchants, who 
after all did not seem to be very sure of their statements. 

Sebastian Cabot's own account of this affair is to be 
found in the very interesting letter of Contarini, Vene- 
tian Ambassador at Madrid, to the Council of Ten at 
Venice, dated December 31st, 1522. Cabot was intri- 



guing to transfer his services to Venice, and by way of 
increasing his value told how anxious England had 
been to employ him. He said : " Now it so happened, 
that when in England some three years ago (if P mis- 
take not) Cardinal Wolsey offered me high terms if 
I would sail with an armada of his on a voyage of dis- 
covery. The vessels were almost ready, and they had 
got together thirty thousand ducats for their outfit. I 
answered him that being in the service of the King 
of Spain I could not go without his leave, but if free 
permission were granted me from hence (Spain) I would 
serve him." He then told of his meeting with a Vene- 
tian friar, who reminded him of his duty to his native 
country, Venice. " In consequence of this, as by serving 
the King of England I could no longer benefit our 
country, I wrote to the Emperor not to give me leave 
to serve the King of England, as he would injure him- 
self extremely, and thus to recall me forthwith." 

One very important fact, however, is proven by this 
reply of the over-cautious Drapers' Company, and that 
is, that many native born masters and mariners were 
obtainable who had full knowledge of the way to the 
new-found-lands and of the havens, dangers, and shoals 
upon that coast. Consequently many unrecorded ex- 
peditions had been made thither by the mariners of 
England prior to 1521. The trade had reached such 
proportions that in 1522, when war broke out between 
England and France, English men-of-war were stationed 
in the Channel to protect the returning fishing fleet. 

John Rut's voyage of 1527 was possibly instigated by 
Robert Thome's letter. Two vessels sailed on this ex- 
pedition, the Sampson and the Mary Guildford of 160 
tons, a King's ship, built in 1524. From the letter 

^ i.e. Contarini. 


John Rut wrote to King Henry from the harbour of 
St. John's " in bad English and worse writing," (which, 
by the bye, is the earliest letter in the English language 
written from America) we learn that, having sailed as 
far as 53° north, they encountered so much ice on July 
1st that they were forced to turn south and harboured 
near " Cap de Bras," or " Gras," as the north-east point 
of Newfoundland was then called, probably in the well 
known harbour of " Carpunt." They had become 
separated from the Sampson in a storm, and after wait- 
ing some time for her at " Carpunt " they went south to 
St. John's and waited there six weeks longer, but she 
never put in an appearance. 

Apparently there were two other English ships on the 
coast the same year, which are referred to by Purchas as 
" Master Grube's two ships," sailing from Plymouth, 
June loth, and reaching Newfoundland July 21st, also, 
rather curiously, at Cap de Bras. Also Hakluyt wrote 
of two ships sent out by Henry VHI, sailing from 
London, May 9th, 1527, one of which was called the 
Dominus Vobisaim, and in which sailed divers cunning 
men and a canon of St. Paul's. One of the ships was 
lost in the Straits of Belle Isle, and the other returned 
home about the beginning of October. Hakluyt's 
account cannot be harmonized with what is known of 
either Rut's or Grube's voyages. He was disappointed 
that he could not find out something more, and blames 
the " negligence of the writers of those times who 
should have used more care in preserving the memories 
of the worthiest acts of our nation," A criticism 
which we devoutly echo. 


THE preceding chapter gives in narrative form 
what is thought to be a commonsense view of 
the early voyages to the north-east coast of America, 
with but little attempt at argument or explanation of 
the statements there made. He is a brave man who 
undertakes to treat of a subject which has occupied 
the attention of so many able students, and the writer, 
in embarking upon it, does so with great diffidence. 
The problems surrounding the early exploration of 
Labrador and Newfoundland are, however, so curious 
and interesting that they necessitate an attempt at 
explanation. It has been enunciated in a preceding 
chapter that the land seen by Corte Real in 1500, 
but which he could not reach, was really our Labrador, 
and not Greenland as is generally stated. 

The derivation of the name Labrador is so inter- 
woven in the discussion, that it is first necessary to give 
the theory now generally accepted in regard to it. 

Many attempts have been made to explain it. The 
first and most obvious meaning, " le bras d'or " — the 
arm of gold — is so evidently a misnomer that it need 
not be seriously considered. " Le bras d'eau " has been 
suggested as the interpretation for the Bradore Lakes 
of Cape Breton, but it seems to have no significance 
for our Labrador. Some early writers said that it was 



^9 i 

^ .» 


the name of the captain of a Basque vessel who was 
among the first to navigate its rugged coasts, or of the 
vessel itself But no evidence has been produced to 
substantiate this theory. Another far-fetched explana- 
tion is that Corte Real bestowed the name on a part of 
the country because he thought it fit for cultivation, 
which is absurd. As a matter of fact, it is probable 
that Corte Real did not succeed in effecting a landing 
on any part of Labrador on account of ice, and not 
intending to found a colony he could not have applied 
the name with intent to deceive, as did Eric the Red in 
the case of Greenland. 

Henry Biddle, in his Memoirs of Sebastian Cabot 
(Philadelphia, 183 1), first called attention to the letter 
of Pietro Pasqualigo, Venetian Ambassador at the 
Court of Portugal, to his brothers in Venice. It is 
dated October 19th, 1501, a few days after the return 
of Corte Real's ships. Among other particulars he 
gives a description of the fifty-seven natives who were 
brought to Portugal from the land which had been 
visited. " The men of this place," says he, " will make 
excellent workers and the best slaves one has ever 
seen." For this reason Biddle suggested that the 
name Labrador was taken from the Portuguese word 
" lavrador " or " labrador," meaning labourer — an ex- 
planation which has satisfied nearly all writers since 
that time. But there are flaws in the line of reasoning 
which completely upset that theory. On the " Cantino," 
" King," and other maps, drawn immediately after the 
return of Corte Real's ships, tw:o countries are- seen. 
One is undoubtedly Newfoundland, both from its 
description and situation ; and from there Corte Real 
sent his vessels with the fifty-seven savages. The 
other, in some maps, has the unmistakable outline of 


Greenland ; in others the outline is vague, but of both 
it is written that Corte Real was unable to land there. 
This latter is the land which is called Labrador. It is 
certain that the geographers were fully aware of the 
facts of Corte Real's voyages, and if the derivation of 
the name had been as suggested they would have 
applied it to the land from which the people were taken — 
that is, to Newfoundland. There seems to be but little 
doubt that the name " Labrador " centres round the 
achievements of one Joao or John Fernandez. It will 
be remembered that he was one of the grantees of the 
letters patent issued by Henry VII in 1501, but his 
name is not included with the grantees of the letters 
patent in 1502, and it is to be presumed that he had 
returned to Portugal. 

M. Ernesto de Canto, in his Archives dos Azores, 
1894, points out that, in 1508, King Emmanuel of 
Portugal gave certain privileges to an Azorean named 
Pero de Barcellos for discoveries made by him in 
northern regions. Associated with Pero de Barcellos 
was Joao Fernandez, described as " lavrador," the 
meaning of which, according to M. de Canto, is rather 
" landowner " than " labourer." There can be little 
doubt that this was the same Joao Fernandez who 
sailed from Bristol in 1501. What particular voyage 
from Portugal it was that he and Pero de Barcellos 
had conducted has not been ascertained, but the guess 
may be hazarded that it was one of the expeditions 
which went to seek for Caspar Corte Real. 

It is stated again and again on the early maps that 
Labrador was discovered by the people of Bristol. One 
map gives us additional information and supplies the 
connecting link which incontestably settles the deriva- 
tion of the name. It is an MS. map by an unknown 


author, drawn about the year 1530, which is preserved 
in the Hbrary of the Duke of Wolfenbuttel. Professor 
Stevens, of Rutgers College, New Jersey, has only 
recently obtained leave to copy it, and has just pub- 
lished an excellent facsimile, from which the accompany- 
ing illustration has been made. In the outlines of the 
north-east coast of America and in the nomenclature, 
it is an exact copy of the Ribero map of 1529. But on 
the country named "Tierra del Labrador" it is written : 
" This country was discovered by the people of the 
town of Bristol, and because he who first sighted land 
was a labourer from the islands of the Azores it was 
named after him." 

It has been suggested that this was a likely thing for 
sailors to do, seeing themselves outdone by a reputed 

Taken altogether, this evidence from such diverse 
sources seems to be conclusive, and, unless something 
more definite is disclosed in the future, must be accepted 
as the real explanation of the name Labrador. 

But whatever the derivation may be, the name fits. 
Cabot, Corte Real, Davis, Hudson, and a long line of 
adventurous spirits, have ioiled along its rugged coasts. 
And in the present day an army of fishermen from 
Newfoundland fight their way to its shores each suc- 
ceeding spring, through ice and fog and storm, there to 
ply their calling during the eighteen -hour -long day 
with a degree of severe labour unknown in other in- 
dustries. It is truly named the land of the labourer — 
not " tiller of the soil," but " toiler of the deep." 



EITHER Cabot, Corte Real, nor any of the earlier 
voyagers to Newfoundland and Labrador left any 
written accounts of their expeditions, and we owe our 
knowledge of them entirely to hearsay evidence. But 
there is a continuous series of documentary evidence 
left to us, of which they were in part the authors, from 
which a great deal of information can be derived. 

The leader of every expedition furnished himself, 
before starting, with any maps or charts which were 
obtainable of the regions he proposed visiting, and cor- 
rected and enlarged them by his own experience. 

These rough drawings were acquired by skilled carto- 
graphers (especially in Portugal and Spain, where there 
were Schools of Navigation) and were embodied in 
maps drawn up by them, often of the most elaborate 
character, embellished with illustrations and resplendent 
with gold and colours. 

Some thirty or more maps and charts of the countries 
in which we are interested are still extant, dating 
before the voyage of Jacques Cartier in 1534, and it is 
one of the most fascinating studies to trace in them the 
gradual growth of knowledge of the New World to see 
how new discoveries were represented and also how 
errors arose and were perpetuated. 

Labrador is a particularly interesting subject of study, 



as there are some curious problems connected with it 
which are likely to remain subjects of controversy for 
many a long day. 

The first map which attempted to show the New- 
found-land discovered by Cabot, was that drawn 
between April and October, 1500, by Juan La Cosa, a 
Spanish pilot of considerable experience, who had 
himself crossed the Atlantic several times. A long 
coastline is seen running from east to west, gradually 
curving south until it combines with the present Florida. 
It bears a number of names at intervals along the 
coast, and the sea is labelled "the sea discovered by the 
English." Notv/ithstanding the deepest study which 
historians and geographers have bestowed upon it, this 
map remains entirely inexplicable; the coastline cannot 
be identified, and the names are purely fanciful.^ 

Only one suggestion can be made in regard to it, 
which seems in the slightest degree satisfactory. Pedro 
de Ayala, the Spanish Ambassador in London, wrote to 
Spain shortly after Cabot's first voyage, saying that he 
supposed the lands found by Cabot adjoined the 
dominions of Spain which had been discovered by 
Columbus. He also spoke of sending a map drawn by 
Cabot, but doubtless did not do so. La Cosa seems to 
have been impressed by the hint contained in Ayala's 
letter, and to have drawn his map solely to give ex- 
pression to it, and produced a fanciful coastline, dis- 
covered by the English, adjoining the dominions of the 
King of Spain. 

The next map of the north-east coast of America is 
known as the " Cantino" map, bearing the date of 1502. 

^ Some writers have seen in this coastline the south coast of 
Newfoundland, others have thought it to be the north shore of the Gulf 
of St. Lawrence, and some prominent writers have declared it to be the 
east coast of Labrador. 


It was drawn at Lisbon, and is undoubtedly an en- 
deavour to show the results of Corte Real's voyages in 
1500 and 1 501. A very curious error originated on 
this map which it took many years to eradicate. 

The designer knew that Corte Real had been unable 
on account of ice to reach the land he saw in 1500. He 
must also have been familiar with the maps and portu- 
lans of the latter half of the fifteenth century, which 
show Greenland fairly correctly outlined. Although all 
communication with it had been cut off for nearly a 
century, its reputation as an ice-bound country still 
continued, so the designer of the map very natur- 
ally jumped to the conclusion that it must have been 
the land which Corte Real saw in 1500. He therefore 
copied it very carefully, and labelled it as follows : — 

" This land was discovered by the order of the most 
excellent Prince Dom Emmanuel, King of Portugal, 
and is found to be the extremity of Asia. They who 
discovered it were not able to land, but they examined 
it and saw nothing but mountains. For this reason it 
is believed to be the extremity of Asia." 

Now it is clearly impossible that Corte Real could in 
such a short time have become so well acquainted with 
the outlines of Greenland as is here shown, and the map 
therefore does not delineate only what he had seen, and 
the fact of the above label being attached to Greenland 
cannot be considered conclusive evidence that he had 
seen a part any more than the whole of it. Some 
writers are of opinion that it actually was Greenland 
which Corte Real saw in 1500, but when it is re- 
membered that the country arrived at in 1501 was 
Newfoundland, and that it was contiguous to the land 
seen on the previous voyage, it must be admitted that, 


in all probability, our Labrador was the ice-bound coast 
which he could not attain. Perhaps also the geo- 
grapher may have been misled in some curious way by 
the fact that Corte Real had given the land he dis- 
covered the name of " Tierra Verde." It must also be 
remembered that the early voyagers were very erratic 
in their longitudes, while their latitudes were fairly 
correct. Even Frobisher's discoveries were misunder- 
stood, and until the end of the eighteenth century 
Frobisher's Straits were marked on the east coast of 

On the Cantino map is seen, near to Greenland, an 
outline of the country which Corte Real visited in 1501. 
The label attached to it reads : — 

" This land was discovered by the order of the very 
high and most excellent Prince, Dom Emmanuel, King 
of Portugal, the which Gaspar Corte Real, gentleman 
of the King's house, discovered. He sent thence a ship 
with some men and women of the country, remained 
himself with the other ship, and never afterwards 
returned. Magnificent trees for masts are found there." 

It is carefully located to the east of the line of 
demarcation, by which Pope Alexander VI divided 
the dominions of Spain from those of Portugal, and it 
is called " The land of the King of Portugal." 

The deep bays and scattered islands are typical of 
the eastern seaboard of Newfoundland, and it is un- 
doubtedly intended for that coast. Notre Dame Bay 
is supposed to be the scene of his landfall. 

The next map to claim our interest was drawn by an 
unknown Portuguese cartographer, a year or so after 
the Cantino map, and is known as the " King" map. 

It is particularly interesting as being the first attempt 


to delineate the Labrador coast. The cartographer had 
probably discovered the mistake made on the Cantino 
map by confusing it with Greenland, as he abandons 
the well-known outlines of that Peninsula and draws 
an irregularly shaped island to the eastward of "Terra 
Corte Real," as Newfoundland was then called, and 
labels it, for the first time time, " Terra Laboratoris." 
As has been already shown, this is proof positive that 
the name was not derived from the natives which Corte 
Real sent from " Terra Corte Real." And if the de- 
rivation of the name is as has been demonstrated in 
the previous chapter, it shows that the reports of the 
Anglo-Azorean Expedition had reached Portugal, and 
very likely prevented the designer from falling into the 
errors of the Cantino map.^ 

On the " King " map will be seen for the first time 
on the land called " Terra Corte Real " the name " Capo 
Raso," showing how very soon the geographical im- 
portance of that famous cape was recognized. Also 
far up in the right-hand corner will be seen the penin- 
sula of Greenland, with "Tile" — i.e. Thule or Iceland — 
beside it. 

The next map in point of date is known as Kunst- 
man II. It was probably drawn after the return of a 
part of Miguel Corte Real's ill-fated expedition in 
1503, and differs but slightly from the King map in 
outline. On the island called " Terra de lauorador," 
however, appear no less than seven names, which may 
possibly be taken as an indication that some portion 
of the coast of Labrador had been explored in the 

^ It has been already suggested that Joao Fernandez left Bristol after 
his return in January, 1502, and went to Portugal, where he would have 
given correct information to the designer of this map about the land 
discovered by him in the previous year and have caused his "nickname" 
to be attached to it. 


Facing p. 60 


meantime. The names themselves are now without 

But it is a curious circumstance that names are found 
upon " Terra de lavrador " before they are upon New- 
foundland, with the sole exception of " Capo Raso." 
This fact is also evidence that it was in reality our 
Labrador which was intended and not Greenland. For 
the east coast of Greenland is nearly always beset with 
an impenetrable mass of ice, and from the time of the 
rediscovery of the country by John Davis until the 
beginning of the nineteenth century, it remained un- 
visited on that account. When in 1 8 16-17 this barrier 
of ice became almost if not entirely separated from 
the land, the event caused a great deal of comment by 
geographers, and parts of the east coast were then 
visited for the first time. While it is not impossible 
that a similar event may have taken place in 1500, it is 
yet very unlikely. 

An interesting effort is evidently made by the 
designer of the map known as Kunstman III, to recon- 
cile the outlines of Greenland, according to Cantino, 
with the outline of " Terra de lavrador " in Kunstman 
II, placing on the east coast of Greenland three of the 
names found on the latter, while at the same time 
giving the best outline up to that date of the whole 
Newfoundland and Labrador coast. The straits of 
Belle Isle and Belle Isle are indicated in their proper 
places, and the projection of land north of Hamilton 
Inlet is shown, considerably exaggerated, but in nearly 
correct latitude. Farther north the shore falls away to 
the north-west in a fairly accurate manner. There are 
ten names marked on the coast of Labrador and 
Newfoundland, and among them are found " Ilha de 
Frey Luis " at 52-50° north lat., near the present St, 


Lewis Inlet, and " Cabo de San Antoine" at 51° north 
lat., where Cape St. Anthony is still to be found. Con- 
ception Bay is the only other name which remains, but 
is placed much too far north. 

The chart of Pedro Reinel (1504-5) shows the east 
coast of Newfoundland considerably developed and hav- 
ing a greatly increased nomenclature, San Johan, Y-dos 
aves (Bird Isles), Boaventura, appearing for the first 
time, A very noticeable feature is the first delineation 
of the south coast of Newfoundland and Cape Breton. 
Also, north of Newfoundland and close to it, is seen 
a coastline extending far to the eastward, which is the 
beginning of a new type of delineation of Labrador. It 
is the prototype of a number of maps, notably Kunstman 
IV, 1520, Ribero 1529, Wolfenbuttel B 1530, Ricardina 
1540, Deslien 1 541, Sebastian Cabot 1544, and Descliers 
1546, the peculiarities of which will be discussed later. 

The maps known as the Egerton Portulan 1507, 
Ruysch 1508, and Majiolo 15 11, are more crude in their 
delineation, but are all interesting, as they embody the 
idea that the newly found countries were the eastern 
portion of Asia. The Ruysch map is particularly im- 
portant to us as it shows the veritable Greenland, so 
named, and Newfoundland labelled, for the first time, 
" Terra Nova," but Labrador is not indicated. 

Two extremely important maps have recently been 
discovered at Wolfegg Castle, in Bavaria, by Professor 
Fischer, S.J. One is the long-sought-for map of 
Waldseemiiller, which was drawn to accompany an 
edition of Ptolemy's Cosmography, published in 1507 
at the little town of St. Die in the Vosges mountains. 
The suggestion was first made in this edition that 
the New World should be called " America," after 
Americus Vespucius, and the map now found puts the 


Facing p. 62 


suggestion into practice by so designing it for the first 

The coast of Newfoundland is shown almost exactly 
as in the " Cantino," " Canerio," and " King " maps, and 
is labelled " Litus Incognitum." It no doubt indicates, 
as they do, the country discovered by Corte Real. 
Engroenlandt is seen joined to the North of Europe, 
as it was long supposed to be, and as it appears on 
several fifteenth- century maps, especially those of 
Donnus Nikolaus Germanus. 

The other map found is known as the Carta Marina 
of Waldseemiiller, 15 16, and is the earliest map of the 
chart description extant. Here, again, Greenland is 
found correctly outlined as it was in the Cantino map, 
but it is now labelled " Terra Laboratoris," although, as 
we have seen, Waldseemiiller had placed it on the map 
of 1507 and correctly named it Greenland. This is the 
first and also the last time that Greenland, correctly 
drawn, is called " Terra Laboratoris." It expresses the 
error, in its fully developed condition, that Greenland 
was the country discovered in 1501 by the Anglo- 
Azorean Expedition. The "Cantino" map correctly 
depicted Greenland, but did not bestow the name ; the 
intervening maps gave the name to an island with a 
fanciful outline east of Newfoundland ; it was left to 
the designer of the map now under consideration to 
suppress this island and label Greenland " Terra Labora- 
toris." The " Litus Incognitum" of the 1 507 map is seen 
considerably developed, and now embraces the whole 
seaboard of Newfoundland and Labrador, from 47° N. 
to 59° N., the northern part called " Terra Nova," and 
the southern part called Coreati — i.e. Cortreali. This 
map, and Kunstman III, are the first to exhibit some 
glimmerings of the correct lie of the Newfoundland 


and Labrador coasts and their relative position in 
regard to Greenland. Not until the end of the sixteenth 
century is a better idea of the trend of the Labrador 
coast to be found. 

The label attached gives more information than is 
found on earlier maps. It reads as follows : — 

" This land of Corterati was found by order of the 
King of Portugal by Caspar Corterati, Captain of two 
ships, A.D. 1 501. He was of the opinion that it was 
the main land because of the great stretch of coast 
extending over 600 miles. It has a number of great 
rivers and is well populated. The houses of the in- 
habitants are made of long sticks covered with skins. 
Their garments are the skins of wild beasts, which they 
wear with the fur outside in summer but inside in 
winter. They paint their faces. They have no iron 
and use instead instruments of stone. There are large 
forests of pine trees and many fish, salmon, etc." 

The Kunstman IV map, 1520, on the part called 
" do Lavrador " bears the following legend : " The Portu- 
guese saw this land but did not land there," and on the 
part corresponding to Newfoundland called " Bacalaos," 
this inscription : " This land was first discovered by 
Caspar Cortereal, Portuguese. He brought from thence 
savage men and white bears. Many animals, birds, 
and fish are found there. The following year he was 
shipwrecked and never returned. His brother Miguel 
the year after met the same fate." Which adds proof 
to the opinion maintained here that the name Labrador 
was not derived from the savages sent back by CorteReal. 
In support of this theory may be quoted Thome's letter 
to Dr. Leigh, written from Seville in 1527, in which he 
says, referring to the dominion of Spain in the New 

I I I i>i 

From " WaldsecmuUcr Maps" by ki^id permission oj H. Stevens Sons and Stiles 

Facing p. 64 


World : " Which maine land or coast goeth northward 
and finisheth in the land that we found, which is called 
here Terra de Labrador, so that it appeareth the said 
land that we found and the Indies are all one maine 
land." From which it is very evident that the position 
of Labrador was clearly understood at the time in 
Seville, even if the maps were incorrect and vague. 

About the middle of the sixteenth century there 
flourished in Seville a well-known cosmographer named 
Alonso de Santa Cruz, who is described as "expert in 
all the arts and mathematics." He had accompanied 
Sebastian Cabot on his disastrous voyage to La Plata, 
and was later one of the band of scientists to whom was 
entrusted the correction of Le Padron General or chart 
on which was noted all new discoveries. 

There is still extant a manuscript by him which has 
never been published. It is entitled El Islario General, 
and gives a very good idea of the knowledge possessed 
at that time by this celebrated school of geographers. 
He says : — 

" First, we propose to treat of that land which is 
commonly called Labrador, the subject of much dis- 
cussion as to whether it is separated from the continent 
of Greenland and if it is a continuation of the northern 
parts of Europe. Zeigler {Opera omnia 1532) holds 
that it is entirely a continuation of Scandinavia. 
It is frequented by the English who go there to take 
fish which the iiatives catch in great numbers. It is 
said that the natives have the same customs as those 
of the Province of Poland in Scandinavia. There are 
many islands to the south of this land named as 
follows : The first is called the ' Isle of Bad Fortune,' 
which is situated in an arm of the sea or strait which 
passes between Baccalaos and the Island of Labrador. 



It is called the Island of Bad Fortune because a 
Portuguese expedition which went in search of the 
Corte Reals suffered a great maritime disaster on 
its shores." 

From this it will be clearly seen that the relative 
positions of Greenland, Labrador, and Newfoundland 
were well understood, but whether Labrador was joined 
to Greenland and Greenland to Europe had not been 

In Richard Eden's translation (i55S) of Peter 
Martyr's Decades there are several interesting refer- 
ences to Labrador. 

" Of the landes of Labrador and Baccalaos, it is said 
that many had travelled to Labrador in search of a 
passage to Cathay, that Caspar Corte Real had been 
there in the year 1500, and had sent back a number of 
men as slaves, and that the land of Baccalaos is a 
great tract lying to the south of 48 deg." 

Quoting Jacobus Gastaldus, a description is given of 
Baccalaos and the land of Labrador to the north of 

Quoting Olanus Gothero, he says : — 

" Gruntland, as some say, is fyftie leagues from the 
north part of the firme lande of the West Indies, by 
the lande of Labrador. But it is not knowen whether 
this land be adherent with Gruntland or if there be 
any streyght or sea between them." 

In Gomara's History of the West Indies we find the 
following statement : — 

" The north part of the West Indies is in the same 
latitude as Iceland. The first two hundred leagues to 
Rio Nevado have not been explored ; from Rio Nevado 



—1 >s \ — i -t V y 

-- a- 















V .- 



. ^ 



\ "~, 









<'*< «;^ 

„«.A>^i«l\^^-, a 


in lat. 60 the distance is two hundred leagues to Baio 
de Maluas ; all this coast is the same 60 deg., and is 
called Labrador." 

Baio de Maluas, which has been interpreted Bay of 
Evil, appears on the Riccardino map of 1534-40 in what 
seems to be the Straits of Belle Isle. Rio Nevado, or 
Snow River, would therefore be Hudson's Straits, and 
the intervening country correctly named Labrador. 

But in spite of the fact that writers of the day under- 
stood the position of these northern countries, the map 
makers continued to confuse Greenland with Labrador. 

In the type of map which began with that of Reinel, 
and of which the Descliers map, 1546, may be taken as 
representative, the southern portion of the coast named 
Labrador is undoubtedly our Labrador, but it is a 
matter of great question whether the long peninsula 
stretching to the eastward is intended for the northern 
part of Labrador or for Greenland. It is generally 
considered to be the latter, but there are grounds for 
supposing that it is Labrador. The variation of the 
compass in these latitudes no doubt greatly assisted in 
the confusion concerning them. On the coast of New- 
foundland the variation is 30°, gradually increasing 
until at Hudson's Straits it is 45°. 

A vessel sailing to the northward from Newfoundland 
sees the Labrador coast apparently opening continually 
to the eastward. The course steered until the White 
Bear Islands are rounded in 55° is almost N.E. by 
compass. After that the general trend of the coast 
is north-west, true, but the variation gradually increas- 
ing in a manner balances the change of direction of the 
coast. Between 57° and 58° there is a notable bend to 
the eastward. 

It may be remembered that in the narrative of 


the Mantuan gentleman Sebastian Cabot is recorded 
to have said that, having reached the same latitude, 
57°, finding the coast still to turn to the eastward, he 
changed his course and sailed to the south. 

As the entrance of Hudson's Straits is approached 
the land again turns to the east, and the Killinek 
Peninsula, of which Cape Chidley is the farther point, 
almost drops to the southward of east. Dr. Grenfell, in 
making his course to Ungava Baj^ through the Ikke- 
rasak or Channel which cuts off the Killinek Peninsula, 
actually has to steer a N.N.E. course by compass, while 
according to the maps he should have to steer almost 
due west. 

Taking the other assumption, that the long penin- 
sula is Greenland, and allowing for the variation of the 
compass at Cape Farewell, which is 52° west, it will be 
seen that a vessel approaching Greenland from the 
eastward would find that coast, by compass, to lie 
almost east and west, with Cape Farewell pointing to 
America, in the following manner : — 

instead of this, as will be found in the Deslien map 

1^ X)^tUi.i\:i Hup 


If the variation of the compass, therefore, in one case 
would cause Labrador to stretch to the eastward, in the 
other case it would cause Cape Farewell to point to 
the west instead of to the east as these maps show it. 
It may therefore be concluded that the idea of the 
real Labrador preponderated when these maps were 

On a map preserved in the Hydrographical Depart- 
ment in Paris of Portuguese origin, and supposed to 
have been drawn about the year 1550, the outline of 
" Terra do laurador " is shown somewhat similar to the 
Deslien map, but on it Greenland is also shown in its 
proper place. 

The names which appear on the quasi-Labrador 
coast of these maps are nearly all of Portuguese origin, 
and cannot now be either explained or located. The 
following list is taken from the Deslien map, quoting 
from Mr. Harrisse's Decoiiverte de T^erre Neuve. The 
Deslien map was drawn in Dieppe, the names are 
therefore French or French adaptations from the Portu- 
guese. Such meanings are given as can be ascertained. 

Terre septentrionale inconnue. The unknown northern land. 

I. rlayne. 


2. B de caramello. 

2. Bay of Ice. 

3. C de terre firme. 

3. Cape of Mainland. 

4. Mer de France. 

4. Sea of France. 

5. Terre de Laborador. 

5. Land of Labrador. 

6. R de C. 


7. G de P. 


8. R Grande. 

8. Grand River. 

9. G de Anurado. 

9. Gulf of Forests. 

10. Gandra. 


II. Redonda. 

II. Round (Island). 

12. Ys de maio. 


13. Reparo. 

13. Gulf of Repairs. 

14. Costa. 

14. (Straight) Coast. 


Terre septentrionale inconnue. 

The unknown northern land. 

15. C de terre firme. 

15. Cape of Mainland. 

16. Ys de loupes marins. 

16. Island of Seals. 

17. Angos. 


18. Cirnes. 


19. Argillur. 

19. Clay. 

20. Y de barres. 

20. Island of Shoals. 

21. B du prassel.^ 

2 1 . Bay of the Little Pig 


22. R de pecje. 

22. River of Fishes. 

23. B oscura. 

23. Dark Bay. 

24. Terra de Johan vaz. 

24. Land of Joao Vaz (Corte 


25. C de bassis. 

25. Low Cape. 

26. Manuel. 


27. B de Manuel. 


28. B de Serra. 

28. Bay of Mountains. 

29. Tous saints. 

29. All Saints. 

30. Terre ursos. 

30. Land of Bears. 

31. Pracell.^ 

31. Porcupine 

32. Mallie. 

32. Evil. 

33. de Mallu. 

33. Bay of Misfortune. 

34. Praia. 

34. Meadow of Plains. 

35. B du Brandon. 

35. Bay of Brandon. 

36. B du baudeon. 


37. R dulce. 

37. Sweet River. 

38. R Dulce. 

38. Sweet River. 

39. Canada. 

39. Canada. 

40. G froit. 

40. Cold Gulf. 

41. Carame^l 

41. Ice. 

42. Forest. 

42. Forest. 

43. P de Gama, 

43. Point of the Deer. 

44. Chasteaux. 

44. Castle Bay. 

45. Blanc Sablon. 

45. White Sand. 

46. Brest. 

46. Harbour of Brest, 

47. Jacques Cartier. 

47. Harbour of Jacques 


The principal fact revealed by a close study of these 
maps is that the whole east coast of Newfoundland and 

^ Numbers of porcupines are found on Labrador, 


Labrador had been traversed within a very few years 
after their discovery by Cabot. It is not possible 
to attribute to each voyager the particular portion of 
coast explored by him, but perhaps the following may 
be as good a conjecture as any other which has been 

John Cabot, in 1497, probably made land on the east 
coast of Newfoundland, and coasted some distance 
northward before setting out on his return journey. 

The significance of the name " Bacalieu," borne 
by the island at the mouth of Conception Bay, does 
not seem to have been properly appreciated. It was 
the name which Cabot is said to have bestowed on 
the countries found by him, and first appears on the 
Oliveriano map of 1503. 

In 1498 Cabot probably extended his explorations 
considerably, both north and south. 

Corte Real, in 1500, saw some part of the northern 
Labrador Coast. In 1501 he landed at Notre Dame 
Bay and explored the whole east coast of Newfound- 
land. The natives he sent to Portugal had in their 
possession a broken sword handle and silver rings of 
Venetian manufacture, which could only have been 
obtained from Cabot's second expedition. 

In this same year, 1501, the Anglo- Azorean expedi- 
tion visited Labrador, bestowed the name, and took 
three Eskimos to England. Some members of this 
expedition had previously sailed with Cabot. 

In 1503 Miguel Corte Real's expedition probably 
ranged the whole coast of Newfoundland and Labrador 
in the search for Caspar Corte Real. Joao Fernandez, 
the discoverer of Labrador, probably accompanied this 
expedition, or that of 1504, which was despatched from 
Portugal for the same purpose. 


In 1508 Sebastian Cabot and Sir Thomas Pert 
sailed along the Labrador Coast into Hudson's Straits, 
and possibly still farther north, then turning south they 
coasted down the entire North American coast. 

English, French and Portuguese fishermen at once 
began to ply their calling in the waters of the New 
World, the former apparently frequenting more par- 
ticularly the coast of Labrador. 


THE discovery of the Gulf of St. Lawrence is 
generally attributed to Jacques Cartier, but it 
would be undoubtedly more correct to say that he first 
explored it and made it known, as there is good 
evidence for the belief that he only followed up the 
discoveries of his own fellow countrymen the Bretons. 

Prior to Cartier's voyage in 1534, however, the Gulf 
of St. Lawrence is not shown on any map. 

It has always been a matter of regret to students 
that the letters patent or commission granted to 
Cartier by Francis I has been lost. Many writers 
think that the object of his voyage was to find a 
passage to China and the East, but as he makes no 
reference to them in his narrative it seems rather to 
have been intended for the exploration of the " New- 
lands" already found, and which are referred to in the 
narratives of his voyages as being the eastern parts of 

Some indication of the purport of his voyage can be 
obtained from the declaration he made before the Pro- 
curateur of St; Malo, on March 19th, 1533. He was at 
that time endeavouring to secure ships and men, " hav- 
ing charge to voyage and go into Newlands and pass the 
Strait of the Bay of Chatteaux," but found himself con- 
tinually balked by his fellow citizens who designed " to 



carry away and conduct a number of ships of the town 
to the said parts of Newlands for their particular profit, 
who have concealed and cause to be concealed the said 
shipmasters, master mariners and seamen, that by 
this means the undertaking and will of the said lord 
(Francis I) are wholly frustrated." 

Upon this complaint the Procurateur decreed that 
no ships were to leave port until Cartier had selected 
those which he required. It will be seen from this that 
Cartier intended " to pass the Straits of the Bay of 
Chatteaux," now the " Straits of Belle Isle," and it is 
therefore evident that the Gulf of St. Lawrence must 
have been known at least in part, or else this body of 
water would not have been described as a Strait. As 
both Bretons and Basques were in the habit of resort- 
ing to the Straits regularly for the whale fishery, it 
would seem impossible that they should not have been 
drawn some considerable distance within the Gulf. 

The St. Malouins also showed, by their endeavours 
to block Cartier's designs, that they valued the fishery 
very highly, and did not wish him to intrude upon their 
private preserves in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 

This is the first extant reference to " Chateau," and it 
will be noticed that it is spoken of as a place well known, 
although it does not appear on any map until the 
Harleyan Map of about 1543. It is not known, there- 
fore, who bestowed this very appropriate name, the huge 
mass of basalt, which caps an island in the bay, with its 
perpendicular cliffs, rectangular shape and flat top hav- 
ing all the appearance of a Norman keep. 

Hitherto we have only been able to record that 
voyages were made to Labrador without being able to 
tell what places in particular were visited, but fortun- 
ately a contemporary, if not the original manuscript of 


Cartier's first voyage, is still preserved, and we are able 
to trace his course from day to day with almost perfect 

On the lOth May, 1534, he arrived at Cape Bonavista, 
and as there was a good deal of ice on the coast he 
went into the harbour of St. Katherine, now Catalina, 
and remained ten days. Evidently these places were 
then well known by name, although no maps prior 
to 1534 now exist which show them. From there 
Cartier directed his course to the Isle of Birds (now the 
Funks) where two of his boats loaded with great auks, 
a practice which continued until the species was exter- 
minated in the early part of the nineteenth century. 

On May 27th he arrived at Chateau Bay on the 
Labrador coast, which was probably the port he 
intended to have first made, but found so much ice 
about that he returned to the Newfoundland shore and 
harboured at Rapont, or Carpont (nov/ Ouirpon). This 
name again bears witness to the voyages of the Bretons 
to the coast, as there are several small localities in 
Brittany named "Carpunt." Here he was ice-bound 
for nine days. When able to get out of the harbour he 
returned to Chateau, and from thence coasted westward 
through the Straits, touching at Hable des Buttes 
(Greenish Hr.), Hable de Balleine (Red Bay), and 
Blanc Sablon,^ which still bears the name, although 
it was apparently not bestowed by Cartier as some 
authors have stated. Passing ITsle de Bouays (Woody 
Island) and ITsle des Ouaiseaulx (Greenly Island), he 
came to Islettes (Bradore Bay) and notes that "there 
great fishing is done." 

^ Blanc Sablon is said to be so named on account of its sandy beach, 
but it may be something more than a coincidence that there is a bay of 
the same name within a few miles of Brest in France. 


On June loth he harboured at Brest, now Old Fort 
Bay. Leaving" his vessels to take in wood and water, 
he went in his boats some distance to the westward, 
and passing by so many islands on his way he named 
the locality " Toutes Isles," While on this journey he 
met a ship from Rochelle, the captain of which asked 
to be directed to Brest, where he intended to do his 
fishing. From which incident it is clearly seen that 
Brest was not so called by Cartier, as has been often 
stated, but was known by name and frequented by the 
Bretons before his time. 

Proceeding along the coast in his boats he explored 
harbour after harbour, with the excellence of which he 
was much struck. One in particular, which he named 
Jacques Cartier Harbour, he considered "one of the good 
harbours of the world." But of the country he gave the 
same unflattering opinion as the Norsemen had done. 
He says : — 

"If the land was as good as the harbors there 
are, it would be an advantage, but it should not be 
named the New land but (the land) of stones and rocks, 
frightful and ill-shaped, for in all the said north coast 1 
did not find a cartload of earth though I landed in 
many places. Except at Blanc Sablon there is noth- 
ing but moss and stunted wood ; in short, I deem 
rather than otherwise that it is the land God gave to 
Cain. There are people in the said land who are well 
enough in body, but they are wild and savage folks. 
They have their hair tied upon their heads in the 
fashion of a fistful of hay trussed up and a nail or some 
other thing passed through it, and therein they stick 
some feathers of birds. They clothe themselves with 
skins of beasts, both men and women, but the women 
are closer and tighter in the said skins and girded about 


the body. They paint themselves with certain tawny 
colours. They have boats in which they go by the sea, 
which are made of the bark of the birch trees, where- 
with they fish a good many seals. Since having seen 
them 1 am sure this is not their abode, and that they 
come from warmer lands in order to take the said seals 
and other things for their living." 

Commentators have not been able to agree as to 
the particular race of Indians here described. The 
description is certainly not applicable to the Eskimos, 
whom Cartier was most likely to have encountered on 
the Labrador coast, and from its place in the narrative 
it seems improbable that he could have intended it for 
the Beothuks, the unfortunate inhabitants of Newfound- 
land. It therefore seems most likely that he met on 
this boat voyage the Montaignais Indians, who always 
came down to the coast at that season of the year, and 
he naturally described those he had last seen. 

On June 13th Cartier returned to Brest, sailed 
thence to Newfoundland, along which he coasted south, 
crossed over to the Cape Breton shore, and then sailed 
northerly until he had made the complete circuit of the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence, and thus prepared the way for 
his great discovery of the river St. Lawrence on his 
next voyage. He left Blanc Sablon on August 15th to 
return to France, and, in spite of being delayed in the 
Strait three days by head winds, he arrived at St. Malo 
on September 5th — a good voyage for modern times. 

It is not inappropriate here to comment upon the 
misunderstanding as to the situation of Brest which so 
long obtained, and which was finally settled by Dr. 
Samuel E. Dawson in an able paper read by him before 
the Royal Society of Canada on May 24th, 1905. On 
all the early maps, right up to the beginning of the 


nineteenth century, the ancient harbour of Brest was 
properly located at Old Fort Bay. On the map of 
Lieutenant Michael Lane, 1790, the two names are 
bracketed together and correctly placed, so it seems 
strange that any misunderstanding could have arisen. 

There had been published in London, in 1638, a book 
called the Merchants' Moppe of Commerce, which, to- 
gether with other erroneous information about the 
New World, contains a description of Terra Corterealis, 
the chief town of which was Brest, the residence of the 
Governor, Almoner, and other public officers, and from 
which the French exported large quantities of fish, oil, 
and furs. This seems to have been repeated in other 
publications, and finally a tradition was established 
that Brest had been a city of importance which fell into 
decay in the seventeenth century. A Mr. Samuel 
Robertson, who lived upon the coast about 1840, 
apparently misled by this tradition, was at some 
pains to find the remains of a city and finally located 
some ruins in Bradore Bay, which he estimated to have 
represented about two hundred houses, and concluded 
that he had discovered the ancient town of Brest. 

He wrote a paper to the Historical Society of 
Quebec giving this information, which was accepted 
without challenge, and consequently historians ever 
since have located Brest at Bradore, and have spoken of 
it as a town of importance. Dr. Samuel E. Dawson, 
however, points out that Brest was never anything but 
a harbour much frequented during the summer season 
in the sixteenth century ; that probably there was 
never any settlement there beyond, perhaps, a block- 
house with a few men to guard any boats or fishing 
material which may have been left behind each winter ; 
that Brest is not even mentioned by Jehan Alphonse in 


1542, by Champlain in 1610, nor by Charlevoix in 1740, 
who described the coast minutely, nor is there any 
reference to it in the Jesuit Relations, nor in the Edits 
et Ordonnances of Quebec. This evidence may be con- 
sidered absolutely conclusive. The ruins found by Mr. 
Samuel Robertson were undoubtedly those of Fort 
Pontchartrain and the settlement made by Legardeur 
de Courtmarche, who obtained a grant of the coast in 

Brest seems to have been a favourite scene for 
mythical episodes. In the Lennox Library in New 
York there is a unique volume entitled Coppie dvne 
Lettre e7ivoyee de la Nauvelle France ov Canada, par le 
Sieur des Combes. It was printed in 1609, and purports 
to have been written at Brest in Canada, February 
13th, 1608. The following translation, as given by Dr. 
Samuel E. Dawson, will be found very amusing. It will 
be seen at once that the narrative is entirely fabulous 
and about on a par with Gulliver's voyage to Lilliput : — 

Copy of a Letter sent frojn New France, or 
Canada, by the Sieztr des Combes, a Gentleman 
of Poitozt, to a Friend, in which are Described 
Briefly the Marvels, Excellence, and V/ealth of 
the Country, Together zvith the Appearance and 
Manners of the Inhabitants, the Glory of the 
French, and the Hope there is of Christianising 

Sir, — Since want of time and the condition of my 
fortune debar me from the means of seeing you per- 
sonally, and that my destiny has relegated me to foreign 
lands, I will try at least to visit you now by a letter, 
and to direct my thoughts to France in a visit to my 


own country, my parents, and those with whom during 
my early years I contracted the ties of close friendship, 
and among whom you hold the first rank, for I have 
always especially esteemed your worth. The only thorn 
which troubles my rest and prevents me from settling 
my inclinations in the satisfaction flowing from our 
conquests and our triumphs, is being deprived of the 
conversation of my friends, and finding myself now, so 
to say, torn in as many parts as there are objects of 
affection, and that those objects are to me so dear. I 
would sustain with more patience this voluntary exile, 
and the remembrance of the charms of Europe would 
not so often trouble my resolution, seeing that now my 
circumstances are changed into an abode in these dis- 
agreeable, wild, and uncivilized lands ; but I am now 
realizing to my cost what it is to be separated from 
those whom one loves, and to endure the pain of such 
a long absence without hope of even seeing any change 
in my lot. But after all it is the result of my own 
inconsistency and youth, and, as I have thrown the die, 
I must alone meet the result. However that may be, 
I beg you to believe that I have erected an altar in my 
heart upon which I offer every day vows and bene- 
dictions in recollection of your worth, and I cherish in 
my memory the pleasures of our former enjoyments. 
I think that if I had not found this remedy to alleviate 
my reminiscences I could not have endured the distress 
that these memories threw over all my energies, but, 
at last, I have learned by this means to soften their 
pain, and these solaces are so pleasant that I gather 
them as roses and flowers, overspread with contentment 
so great that it creates for me a paradise of enjoyment 
and is the delight of my life. The sorrows of absence 
would yet be endurable if, after a certain length of 
time, I could secure news from you ; but since my 


departure from France my ill-fortune has been such 
that I have been without any, and I can in no way 
learn how you are nor the state of your affairs, except 
in imagination, and I know very well that such im- 
aginations are deceitful. That would afford a new 
charm to quicken the ardour of my desires, but seeing 
that my unfortunate situation forbids it, I leave the 
whole to chance and hazard, both in giving you a 
description of New France and in asking you to let 
us know what is going on in the old one ; and if a fair 
wind carries my letter to you, I beg that you will 
recognize this mark of my affection and accept in good 
part what I say of events on this side, until history 
records, in detail, all those facts for your better in- 

You must know that after our departure from 
Rochelle, which was on April 13th, 1604, under the 
direction of the Sieur de Bricaut, a man equally ex- 
perienced as a captain on sea and on land (as the facts 
prove) as much so as any one I have ever known either 
by reputation or otherwise, we pursued our way on the 
high sea with a fair wind until the 24th of the said 
month, when at two o'clock in the afternoon, when we 
were near Maida Islands, about the 3rd degree of 
longitude and the 24th of latitude, there arose a north- 
east wind very strong and vexatious with storm and 
tempest, separating our vessels and raising the sea with 
such fury that we thought we were lost, and that our 
destiny was to be wrecked on the spot ; but God, whose 
will was to reserve our lives for a more glorious occasion, 
showed that He had ordered otherwise in His Divine 
Justice, because after wind and tempest had frothed out 
their malice during two hours, at four o'clock in the 
afternoon they ceased and the waves calmed down. 
Then we commenced to examine the Islands, and we 


took refuge there to recuperate and rest during three 
days, as well as to wait for some of our vessels which 
had gone astray, as to repair two of them whose sides 
had been opened by the great strain they had sustained. 

After three days at that place we raised anchor the 
28th, at seven o'clock in the morning, and spreading all 
sails we steered away towards Isle Verde, but just as 
we thought to approach it there came a north wind 
which, after blowing furiousl)'- against us for a day and 
a half, drove us to the Azores, where in the immediate 
vicinity we met a fleet of Spanish vessels. They 
attempted to bar our passage, but after a few light 
attacks we passed along. 

I would describe to you in detail the nature of these 
Islands, their situation, and the manner of life of the 
people, but as I have only undertaken to tell you of 
New France and of what is going on there, I will pass 
over the rest and will say nothing more than that the 
climate is fairly agreeable, and that they are very fine 
Islands, well peopled, of which Spain holds the great 
part. I will not, therefore, say any more on this 
subject, except that after numerous encounters, fortunes 
and perils (not here related for the sake of brevity), we 
arrived at Cape Bellile the twenty-seventh of the month 
of August of the year 1605, about three o'clock of the 
afternoon : this Cape is one of the finest that exists in 
all the ocean, and especially in the northern sea ; and 
you should know that there are two large rocks a 
gunshot's length into the sea, and then they meet in 
a crescent on the south side, so that one might suppose 
that Nature had set herself to build a port as safe 
and more beautiful than any which human skill could 
produce. A league and a half from there is a small 
town named Surfe, inhabited since a long time by the 
French. We made acquaintances there and received 


great courtesies from the inhabitants, and were made 
very welcome. 

This place is the beginning of Canada, but we did 
not want to prolong our sojourn there because we 
desired first to go and see the Sieur du Dongeon, who 
is governor, and resides ordinarily at Brest, the prin- 
cipal town of the whole country, well provisioned, large 
and well fortified, peopled by about fifty thousand men, 
and furnished with all that is necessary to enrich a good 
sized town ; it is distant from Surfe about fifty leagues. 

Our voyage so far was more favourable than the 
sequel, for having sailed the eleventh of December, so 
soon as we were in the open sea about six leagues, a 
north wind arose Vv^hich struck us with such violence 
that in less than twenty-four hours we were thrown 
on the land of Baccalaos, partly owned by the Spaniards, 
partly by the inhabitants of the country ; but fortune 
was so favourable that we were pushed in a little strait 
in the corner of an island under great trees closely 
resembling oaks, except that their leaves are like cab- 
bage leaves, and they bear a fruit similar to oranges, 
which is very good and delicate, with a taste most 
delicious and agreeable. While we were there riding 
at anchor some of our men, animated by curiosity to 
know who were the inhabitants of that island, roamed 
amongst the trees and walked about two miles before 
finding anything. Then proceeding further, they saw 
in the woods a few huts covered with foliage, and in 
the vicinity some men who seemed to cary arms and 
were patrolling around the huts. Our folks stopped 
a moment in order to ascertain what they v/ere doing. 
Soon after came to them two tall men, like semi-giants, 
armed with scales of fishes, and each carrying a big 
club in his hands bristling with iron nails, and weighing 
about eighty pounds. At the first approach they began 


to quarrel with these poor people, and in less than no 
time threw ten or twelve of them on the ground before 
they had time to put themselves on their guard ; upon 
which the people began to beat upon a sort of wood 
unknown to me, and made such a noise that the whole 
forest resounded. Then, joining together in defence to 
the number of about five hundred, and with a sort of 
crossbows gave chase to these monsters, who neverthe- 
less carried off some plunder in their flight. 

Our men, seeing the awkwardness at arms of these 
poor Barbarians, became more bold and, showing them- 
selves to them, fired three or four discharges of musketry, 
which so surprised them that they did not know where 
they were, and they were preparing to flee when some 
of our men advanced towards them and made signs to 
them to have no fear and that no harm would be done 
to any of them. 

On this assurance they assembled, and, after a long 
deliberation, they placed their king on a small chariot 
with four wheels and the four most good looking drew 
it marching in the direction of the men, making signs 
to drop their arms. The arms being lowered the king 
kissed the Sieur de Fougeres, who was the most distin- 
guished looking of the lot, and told him through his 
interpreter that if they wished to remain in the country 
he would furnish them with subsistence and land, and, 
taking a great collar of precious stones that he wore 
around his neck, he gave it to the Sieur de Fougeres, and 
afterwards that same collar was estimated at more than 
one hundred and fifty thousand ecus ($75,000). Then 
after having studied the disposition and appearance of 
our folks, and finding them so dexterous and gracious 
compared to themselves, the Barbarians remained 
ravished and wanted to worship them like gods, making 
signs that if they wished to go with them they would 


be recognized as kings and emperors of all their lands 
which are very extensive and rich, but our people made 
reply that they were only human beings and no more 
than themselves, and that there was in heaven an im- 
mortal and Almighty God, and that they all ought to 
worship Him with devotion. Then they threw them- 
selves on their knees, and, stamping with joy and with 
eyes elevated to heaven, they commenced to sing hymns 
of joy in their language. Then as the wind rose they 
ran away in all directions, so that in less than no time 
our men were left alone without knowing the cause of 
such a sudden alarm. 

After that our people returned to the vessels and told 
all that they had seen, and we remained surprised, won- 
dering at the mercy of God and magnitude of His 
works, as well as the simplicity of those poor beings 
which renders them a hundred times more happy in 
their brutish state than we are with all our pride and 

We were almost on the point of taking the risk of 
seizing the country, seeing the road open before us and 
almost inviting us to enter ; but after consultation, fore- 
seeing the perils that we might meet with, we refrained 
and postponed the attempt to another time. Still the 
country is beautiful, rich, productive, with an infinity of 
fine fruits, many precious stones and [about last half of 
line missing, clipped by binder] which makes it very 
wealthy. I believe that less than five hundred men 
could get possession of it, and thus make one of the 
best conquests possible. The French will consider this 
matter, and meantime I will proceed with the narrative 
of our voyage. 

After resting for a day and a half, we raised anchor, 
and taking the route of St. Lawrence Island we were 
again thwarted and had to land on a small island called 


Les Chasses, where we remained a fortnight before we 
could sail again. We found there small grains of pure- 
gold mixed with the sand, so much that some of our 
men gathered more than thirty pounds of it, and plenty 
of coral and layet (jaiet) which grow there in great 
abundance. Following again the same route we made 
so swift a course that on November 5 we arrived at 
Brest, where we received a hearty welcome with the 
most magnificent entertainment we could desire, both 
from the Sieur de Dongeon and all the other inhabi- 
tants. After resting for a short time we were employed 
in the war they were waging against the people of 
Bofragara, on the other side of the river Anacal which 
divides their lands ; but before entering further upon an 
account of that war, I wish to say something of the 
situation of the country and the manners of these New 

Firstly, you must know that Canada is a very beauti- 
ful country, large and pleasant, bounded on the north 
by the river Anacal, on [about first half of line missing, 
clipped by binder] Northern Ocean, on the sunset by 
the mountains of Gales, and on the south by the terri- 
tories of Chillaga. The principal towns are Brest, 
Hanguedo, Canada, Hochilago, Foquelay, Turquas, 
Brinon, Bonara, Forniset, Grossot, and Horsago, Poquet, 
Tarat, and Fongo, all large towns, and well provided. 
The rivers are Anacal, which is a great river, Saguenay, 
Bargat, Druce, and Boucorre, the least of them being 
larger than the Seine, besides an infinity of other 
streams. The Kingdom of Canada is about three hun- 
dred leagues in length and one hundred and fifty broad, 
of a fair enough temperature, except that it is a little 
colder than France, being placed under the 50th degree 
of latitude and 320th degree of longitude. It is very 
fertile, flat, full of all sorts of trees, except that it pro- 


duces no wine, but in compensation there are certain 
apples, marvellously big and full of a certain juice very- 
delicate and which intoxicates as much as wine. There 
is, however, wine there, and very good and delicate, 
which is brought from Florida, a warmer country where 
they produce much of it. As for wheat of all kinds 
the country is as fertile as France itself, and there is a 
certain class of wheat named Trive which is whiter than 
the French species, and better, more savoury, yielding a 
very sweet flour with a smell nearly like the violet. It is 
only necessary to plough the land once and to sow, and 
I can assure you that from a bushel of this Trive you 
will get more than thirtyfold without any admixture of 
grass or other weeds to spoil it. I cannot describe to 
you the fertility of the country both in wheat, in other 
sorts of fruits and things necessary to manhood, as well 
as in other kinds of merchandise, drapery, silk, and 
wool. To sum up in a word, I believe it is some 
promised land, and that the simplicity of its inhabitants 
brings on it the benediction of heaven, because without 
excess of labour and without hard work to make a 
living, such as we do in Europe, they have all things in 

Now, to show you the nature of those who reside here, 
you must know that they are very fine men, white as 
snow ; they allow their hair to grow down to the waist, 
men or women, with high foreheads, the eyes burning 
like candles, tall in body and well proportioned. The 
women also are very beautiful and pleasing, well formed 
and delicate, so much that with the style of their dress, 
which is somewhat strange, they seem to be nymphs or 
goddesses. They are very tractable and gentle, but 
would rather be killed than consent to their own dis- 
honour, and they have only connection with their 


As regards their manner of living in other respects 
they are brutish, but they are commencing to be civi- 
lized and to adopt our ways and deportment ; they are 
easy to teach in the Christian Faith without showing 
much obstinacy in their paganism, so much so, that if 
some teacher were to visit them I think that in a short 
time the whole of the country would turn to the Chris- 
tian Faith without much effort, and I think also by that 
means the road would be open all over America for the 
conquest of souls, which is more important than all the 
territories that can ever be conquered. 

It should be known that we hold a large extent of 
country as Frenchmen, and that we have undertaken the 
conquest of the Atares, which is one of the richest por- 
tions of Canada, and where mines of gold and silver are 
in great abundance, and which are very rich. All along 
the riversides even are to be found something like small 
nuggets of fine gold, many precious stones, diamonds 
and other wealth. The people there are cruel and war- 
like and give us much trouble. We want badly some 
help from France, and I think Mons. du Dongeon has 
written to the King to that effect, and I tell you that if 
we receive help we shall have the upper hand of them, 
and will perform such deeds that the memory will go 
down to posterity and the glory of Frenchmen will live 
forever in all America. 

This is briefly what I can write you for the present, 
as I have not been long enough in the country to know 
all its singularities, and I beg you to be satisfied with 
this little until time and experience have furnished me 
the means to add to my informxation and enable me to 
describe to you at full length the merits of such a fine 
conquest. I promise and assure you that, France being 
excepted, Canada is one of the most beautiful and 
agreeable countries that you can either see or desire, 


and I would even dare to prefer it to France as to riches 
and resources, both for gold and silver as well as for 
other necessaries of life, and all that without much pain 
and work as you have generally. Please take this 
meagre budget of news in good part. 
Sir, as coming from 

Your most affectionate servant, 

Des Combes. 

From Brest in Canada, 

this 13th February, 1608. 

Leon Savine, master printer, permission to print the 
present copy of letter, v/ith interdiction to any others in 
such case required. 

Jacques Cartier made a second voyage in 1535 ; again 
entering the Gulf of St. Lawrence by the Straits of 
Belle Isle and harbouring in Blanc Sablon. On this 
momentous voyage he ascended the St. Lawrence as 
far as the present Montreal, and returned leaving the 
Gulf by the Cabot Straits to the south of New- 

It is said {Documents Aiithentiques de la Marine 
Normande, by E. Gossilin) that after 1527 there was 
a notable decline in the pursuit of the fisheries in 
the New World by the fishermen of Normandy, and 
that it did not revive until after the voyage of Roberval 
and Cartier in 1541. It seems certain, however, that 
Cartier's fellow-townsmen, the St. Malouins, continued 
to make yearly voyages, their objective point being 
nearly always the south coast of Labrador in the 
Straits of Belle Isle. On Cartier's third voyage (1541) 
he made the harbour of Carpunt to the north of New- 
foundland, and proceeded through the Straits to his 
destination. He wintered near the mouth of the St. 


Lawrence, and after enduring great hardships, departed 
in the spring of 1542 to return to France, Entering 
the harbour of St. John's, Newfoundland, he found 
there, to his great surprise, Roberval with three ships, 
who had failed in the previous year to follow him 
across the Atlantic, as had been intended. Roberval 
wished Cartier to return with him to the St. Lawrence, 
but Cartier had had enough of it, and slipping away in 
the night, returned to France. Roberval continued his 
journey via the Straits of Belle Isle, and made his 
disastrous attempt to found a colony. The only inci- 
dent of his journey which need concern us is the 
romantic story which was related b}^ Marguerite of 
Navarre in her Heptameron (1559), and by Thevet 
in his Cosmographic Universelle (1586). It is also 
retold by Park man (^Pioneers of France in the Netv 
World) in the following vivid and picturesque manner: — 

" The Viceroy's company was of mixed complexion. 
There were nobles, soldiers, sailors, adventurers, with 
women too, and children. Of the women, some were 
of birth and station, and among them a damsel called 
Marguerite, a niece of Roberval himself In the ship 
was a young gentleman who had embarked for love of 
her. His love was too well requited ; and the stern 
Viceroy, scandalized and enraged at a passion which 
scorned concealment and set shame at defiance, cast 
anchor by the haunted island, landed his indiscreet 
relative, gave her four arquebuses for defence, and with 
an old Norman nurse named Bastienne, who had pan- 
dered to the lovers, left her to her fate. Her gallant 
threw himself into the surf, and by desperate effort 
gained the shore, with two more guns and a supply 
of ammunition. 

"The ship weighed anchor, receded, vanished, and they 


were left alone. Yet not so, for the demon lords of the 
islands beset them day and night, raging around their 
hut with a confused and hungry clamoring, striving 
to force their frail barrier. The lovers had repented of 
their sin, though not abandoned it, and heaven was on 
their side. The saints vouchsafed their aid, and the 
offended Virgin, relenting, held before them her pro- 
tecting shield. In the form of beasts or other shapes 
abominably and unutterably hideous, the brood of hell, 
howling in baffled fury, tore at the branches of the 
sylvan dwelling; but a celestial hand was ever inter- 
posed, and there was a viewless barrier which they 
might not pass. Marguerite became pregnant. Here 
was a double prize, two souls in one, mother and child. 
The fiends grew frantic, but all in vain. She stood 
undaunted amid these horrors ; but her lover, dismayed 
and heartbroken, sickened and died. Her child soon 
followed ; then the old Norman nurse found her unhal- 
lowed rest in that accursed soil, and Marguerite was 
left alone. Neither her reason nor her courage failed. 
When the demons assailed her she shot at them with 
her gun, but they answered with hellish merriment, and 
henceforth she placed her trust in hea.ven alone. There 
were foes around her of the upper, no less than of 
the nether world. Of these, the bears were the most 
redoubtable ; yet, being vulnerable to mortal weapons, 
she shot three of them, all, says the story, 'as white as 
an egg.' 

" It was two years and five months from her landing 
on the island, when, far out at sea, the crew of a small 
fishing craft saw a column of smoke curling upward 
from the haunted shore. Was it a device of the fiends 
to lure them to their ruin ? They thought so, and kept 
aloof. But misgiving seized them. They warily drew 


near, and descried a female figure in wild attire 
waving signals from the strand. Thus at length was 
Marguerite rescued and restored to her native France, 
w^here, a few years later, the cosmographer Thevet met 
her at Natron in Perigord, and heard the tale of wonder 
from her own lips." 

The scene of this strange and romantic story was one 
of the islands to the western end of the Straits of Belle 
Isle on the Labrador coast. Jehan Alphonse, Roberval's 
pilot, in his Routier, lays down the Isles de la 
Demoiselle, no doubt named from this circumstance, at 
about the position of Great or Little Mecatina. 

In February, 1541, no less than sixty vessels left 
ports in Normandy for the transatlantic fisheries, and 
until 1545 the business was continued with great vigour. 
After that it was discontinued until .1560, when it took 
another start, and thirty-eight vessels left for the " New 
lands." In 1564 there was apparently some intention 
of the French Crown to revive the project of coloniza- 
tion in New France, but for some reason the design 
was abandoned, and it was not until 1597 that it was 
again seriously undertaken. We, however, have the 
evidence of Parkhurst and Haies to the effect that the 
French fishermen were numerous on the south coast of 
Newfoundland, and in the " Grand Bay " in the last 
quarter of the sixteenth century. 



WHETHER the English did or did not, at once 
and ever afterwards, make good the discoveries 
of Cabot, by use and occupation of the countries he 
found, has long been a matter of controversy. 

In Prowse's Histoiy of Newfou7idland, 1896, a full 
and continual possession of the land is claimed from 
the very first. On the other hand, in Decouverte de 
Terre Neuve, Harrisse, 1900, it is argued that not only 
was Newfoundland not discovered by Cabot, but that 
it, as well as the neighbouring coasts, were not 
frequented by the English to the same extent as by 
other nations, and in fact were ^une qiLaritite negligeable' 
for Englishmen until the Treaty of Utrecht, 171 3. 

The dispute is an old one. The industrious Hakluyt, 
in the Epistle Dedicatorie to his Divers Voyages says : — 

" When I passed the narrow seas into France, I 
both heard in speech and read in books, other nations 
miraculously extolled for their discoveries and notable 
enterprises by sea and land, but the English of all 
others, for their sluggish security and continual neglect 
of the like attempts, especially in so long and happy 
a time of peace, either ignominiously reported or 
exceedingly condemmed. Thus both hearing and 
reading the obloquie of our nation and finding few or 



none of our own men able to reply therein . . . myself 
determined to undertake the burden of that worke." 

And it is certain that very little could be done to 
uphold the honour of England in this respect did we 
not have Hakluyt's great collection of voyages as a 
foundation to build upon. The controversy revived 
again nearly two hundred years later. By the Treaty 
of Utrecht, 171 3, in regard to the Newfoundland 
Fisheries, it was declared that Spain should enjoy such 
rights qnce jure tibi vindicare poterunt — " as they were 
to prove by law " ; but as England always denied 
any such rights, Spain obtained very little satisfaction 
from the permission. When peace was being negotiated 
with France in 1761, the proceedings were suddenly 
stopped by the intrusion of Spain, with a renewed 
claim of right to fish in Nevv'foundland waters, which 
claim received the full endorsation of the French. But 
their demands were dismissed with scant ceremony by 
Pitt. In a letter to the English Ambassador at Madrid, 
he writes : — 

" As to the stale and inadmissable pretensions of 
Biscayans and Guipuscoans to iish at Newfoundland, 
you will let it be clearly understood that this is a matter 
held sacred, and that no concession on the part of His 
Majesty, so destructive to the true and capital interest 
of Great Britain will be yielded to Spain, however 
abetted and supported." 

The English Ambassador wrote in reply to Pitt : — 
" As to the second Article, containing the claim so 
often set up by the Biscayans and Guipuscoans to fish 
at Newfoundland and as often denied by England, 
I had in the clearest terms I could make use of, showed 
that the first discovery of the Island was made at 


the expense and by the command of Henry VII, and I 
had likewise demonstrated the uninterrupted possession 
of it from that time to the presetit date to have be- 
longed to the English from their being constantly settled 

The controversy ended in renewed war with Spain 
and France, in which England achieved instant success, 
and by the Treaty of Paris, 1763, the sovereignty of 
England was declared over Newfoundland and Canada, 
including Labrador ; but unhappily saddled in respect 
to Newfoundland, with a permission to the French 
to fish on certain parts of the coast. A weak-kneed 
concession which caused even the poet Cowper, from 
amongst his cats and old ladies, to exclaim, " One 
more such Peace and we are undone," and which was a 
constant source of friction until it was cancelled by 
purchase in 1904. 

The number of voyages actually made or projected 
by the English in the first quarter of the sixteenth 
century is proof that the English Sovereigns did not 
lose sight of the valuable discoveries made by Cabot ; 
but except for the disastrous voyage of Master Hore 
in 1536, so quaintly related by Hakluyt, there is abso- 
lutely no record of any English voyage there for nearly 
forty years. This does not prove, however, that no 
voyages took place, and we can be certain for many 
reasons, which will be amply demonstrated, that had 
there been records kept in England as there were in 
France, it would have been found that a continual 
stream of fishing vessels left the western parts of 
England for the " newe founde lands." 

Labrador in particular was assigned to the English 
by map-makers and geographers of the Continent. The 
Maggiolo map of 151 1 bears the legend across its most 


northerly part, undoubtedly intended for Labrador : 
" Terra de los Ingres " — the land of the English — and 
is the first map to associate the English with that 
region. On Thome's map of 1527 we find the following 
legends : " Nova Terra Laboratorum dicta," and on the 
ocean bordering this country, " Terra haec ab Inglis 
primum fuit inventa." Thorne addressed a memorial to 
Henry VIII from Seville exhorting him to undertake 
voyages of exploration to the northern regions, " to his 
own glory and his subjects' profit . . . for that you have 
already taken it in hand." Hakluyt thinks this refers to 
the supposed voyage of 15 17 under Cabot and Pert, but 
it seems safer, in the light of recent research, to attribute 
it to the expedition projected in 1521, but which was 
thwarted by the Drapers' Company. 

The Ribero map of 1529 states that Labrador was 
discovered by the English, and adds the unflattering 
comment, " There is nothing there of much value." 

In the Carte de Verrazano, 1529, on the land called 
" Terra Laboratoris," is written, " which land was dis- 
covered by the English." In token of which this part 
of the coast is embellished by the arms of England. 

The map known as Wolfenbuttel B. (1534), already 
quoted, not only states that Labrador was discovered 
by the English, but gives the important information 
that the country was so named because a labourer of 
the Azores first sighted it. 

A Portuguese map (1553), preserved at the Depot 
de la Marine, Paris, shows the English flag with the 
crosses of St. George and St. Andrew on the land called 
Terra de Laurador. The Molyneux map which accom- 
panies the 1599 edition of Hakluyt's Voyages also states 
regarding Labrador : " This land was discovered by 
John Sebastian Cabot for King Henry VII, in 1497." 


Such an array of evidence, extending over the whole 
of the sixteenth century, is conckisive proof of the fact 
that Labrador was recognized as territory particularly 
belonging to England. 

We have already quoted the unpublished manuscript 
of Alonzo de Santa Cruz, entitled El Islario General. 
This important statement will be noticed regarding 
Labrador : " It is frequented by the English, who go 
there to take fish which the natives catch in great 

Evidence from such a source must carry great weight, 
for Alonzo de Santa Cruz and his associates of the Casa 
de Contratacion, among whom was Sebastian Cabot, were 
not only possessed of all the maps and reports which 
were brought back by Spanish voyagers, but also 
obtained all possible information from foreign sources, 
and embodied that knowledge in " Le Padron General," 
or map of the world, which it was their duty to keep 
up to date. Notwithstanding the general concurrence 
of map makers in associating the English so particu- 
larly with Labrador, the nomenclature of the coast 
on the early maps is either Portuguese or French, 
and English names do not begin to appear until the 
latter half of the eighteenth century. The explanation 
of this, however, is obvious. The art of map-making 
was in a very backward condition in England as 
compared with Spain, Portugal, France, or Italy, and 
English maps were not only few in number but of 
the crudest description. But the lack of maps does 
not argue a corresponding lack of voyages nor poor 
seamanship. On this latter point we can feel certain 
that English sailors compared very favourably with the 
French and were vastly superior to the Spanish. Mr. 
Oppenheim, whose exhaustive study of naval history 


constitutes him an authority, in Yixs Administration of the 
Royal Navy thus writes on this subject : — 

" Judging from the accounts of the voyages of these 
years, English seamen seem to have handled their ships 
skilfully in all conditions and under all difficulties, and 
in navigation landfalls were made with accuracy. . . . 
The case was very different with the Spanish seamen. 
Since 1508 there had been a great school of cosmography 
and navigation at Seville under the superintendence of 
the Pilot Major of Spain, but it does not appear to have 
succeeded in turning out competent men." 

A writer in 1573 says : — 

" How can a wise and omnipotent God have placed 
such a difficult and important art as navigation into 
such coarse and lubberly hands as those of these 
pilots. You should see them ask one another, ' How 
many degrees have you got ? ' One says ' sixteen,' 
another ' about twenty,' and another ' thirteen and a 
half.' Then they will say, ' What distance do you make 
it to the land ? ' One answers ' I make it forty leagues 
from the land,' another 'A hundred and fifty,' a third 
' I reckoned it this morning to be ninety-two leagues,' 
and whether it be three or three hundred no one of 
them agrees with the other or with the actual fact." 

Fifteen years later the superiority of the English 
seamen and ships over Spanish was proved beyond all 
gainsaying by the defeat of the Spanish Armada. 

A good deal of information regarding early Eng- 
lish voyages can be obtained from a careful analysis 
of the laws passed in England during the sixteenth 
century for the governance of sJiippi^ig and naviga- 

The first Act of Navigation was passed in Richard H's 


time, and had for its express object "the increase of 
the Navy of the EngHsh, which was then greatly 
diminished." It is curious that this note of pessimism 
should have been struck thus early, when it is obvious 
that, prior to that date, the shipping of England could 
not have been very extensive or formidable. The same 
cause is assigned for many of the Acts which follow, 
and one wonders if the decline of the Navy, which 
was periodically bemoaned, could really have taken 

That their fears were unfounded, at least in one 
instance, witness the Act of 1581, for the " Increase of 
Mariners and for the Maintenance of Navigation," the 
preamble of which deplores the fact that the trade to 
Iceland had decayed, and the number of seamen and 
mariners fit for Her Majesty's service greatly decreased. 
But the English mariners were " Ready, aye, ready ! " in 
1 588, and it can hardly be contended that such efficiency 
as was then displayed could have been developed in 
such a short time and by virtue of the above-mentioned 

The preamble of an Act passed in 1490 deplores the 
decay of the Navy and the idleness of the mariners. In 
1494 the Act is re-enforced for the same reason, and in 
1532 the decrease of shipping and mariners was again 
the occasion of statutory enactments. 

The first Act of Parliament to mention the Newlands 
was passed in 1542. The preamble states that in 
times past many towns and ports had enjoyed great 
wealth " by using and exercising the crafte and feate of 
fishing." That fish had been sold at a reasonable price 
in our market towns, " and many poure men and women 
had therebye their convenynt lyuing to the strength 
increasing and wealthe of this realm." But latterly 


some dishonest and lazy people had forsaken the craft 
of fishing and had been making it a practice to buy fish 
from Picardes, Flemmings, Normans, and Frenchmen, 
sometimes on the coast of France and " half 
the sea over." Such practices were promptly stopped 
by the imposition of a fine of £io for every such 
offence. " Provided furthermore that this Act or any- 
thing conteyned therein shall not extend to any person 
which shall buy any fisshe in any partis of Iseland, 
Scotlands, Orkeney, Shatlande, Ireland or Newland." 
This has been quoted as proof that the fisheries at 
that period were greatly neglected by the English 
seamen, but the proper deduction is undoubtedly that 
it was to put a stop to dishonest practices, and the 
mention of exceptions, viz. : the distant fisheries of 
Iceland and Newland, is surely ample proof that the 
fisheries in these parts were steadily prosecuted, as 
well as displaying the determination of the Crown to 
protect them. 

In 1 549 an Act was passed forbidding the exaction of 
a toll by the Royal Navy, either in money or in kind, 
from any " Merchants and Fishermen as have used and 
practised the adventures and journeys into Iceland, 
Newfoundeland, Ireland and other places commodious 
for fishing and the getting of fish in and upon the 
seas or otherwise by way of merchandise in those 

Hakluyt, who quotes this Act, says : — 

" By this Act it appeareth that the trade of England 
to Newfoundland was common and frequented about 
the beginning of the reign of Edward VI, namely in 
the year 1548, and it is much to be marvelled that 
by the negligence of our men the country in all this 
time has not been searched over." 


One of the Articles in the Attainder of Sir Thomas 
Seymour, Lord High Admiral, January, 1549, is that he 
" not only exhorted and bribed great sums of money of 
all suche ships as should go into Iceland, but also 
as should go any other where in merchandize to the 
great discouragement and to the destruction of the 

The preamble of an 'Act passed three years later 
complains that the Act of 1494 was intended for 
the maintenance of the Navy, with the hope that 
the article there mentioned, (fish), would have been 
cheaper, but on the contrary that the article had ad- 
vanced in price, " and the Navy was thereby never the 
better maintained." One of the earliest Acts of 
Ehzabeth's reign (1562) v^^as " for the better maintain- 
ance and increase of the Navy," and the principal 
means taken was the encouragement of the fisheries, 
by permitting free trade in the article for Her Majesty's 
subjects, and the promotion of the consumption of 
fish by ordaining that Wednesdays and Saturdays 
should be '' fish days." This Act does not refer specific- 
ally to the Newlands or any other fishery, but was in- 
tended to be general. 

In 1571, I58i,and 1585, alterations were made in the 
fishing regulations, all for the purpose of increasing 
the Navy. But in 1597 many of them were repealed, 
as it was found that the "condition of the Navy was 
not bettered nor the number of marines increased, and 
that the Queen's natural subjects were not able to 
furnish a tenth part of the realm with salted fish of 
their own taking." The Statute of 1581 is the only one 
which mentions Newfoundland particularly. 

The inference to be deduced from these sixteenth 
century Acts, in respect to the fisheries on the north- 


east coast of America is, that they were undoubtedly 
steadily prosecuted by the English, but that the purpose 
of the i\cts was the maintenance of the Navy, not the 
exercise of sovereignty over the new found lands. 

Confirmatory evidence of these early fishing voyages, 
from a entirely different source, is the report of the 
Venetian Ambassador Soranzo, who wrote in 1564: 
" There is great plenty of English sailors who are 
considered excellent for the navigation of the Atlantic." 
Anthony Parkhurst,^ writing to Hakluyt in December, 
1578, and describing Newfoundland, makes some state- 
ments which seem rather contradictory. He tells that 
during the four years he had been going to the fisheries 
at Newfoundland, that the English vessels prosecuting 
that fishery had increased from thirty to fifty sail, 
" chiefly through the imagination of the Western Men 
who think their neighbours have had greater gains than 
in truth they had." 

Parkhurst says that it is impossible to arrive at the 
number of foreign vessels plying there, but estimates 
them at 100 Spaniards, 50 Portuguese, and 150 French 
and Bretons, but he adds this pertinent statement : 
"The English are commonly lordes of the harbours in 
which they fish, and do use all strangers' helpe in fishing 
if neede require, according to an old custom of the 
country." One would like very much to have further 
particulars of this old custom of the country. If the 
English were so outnumbered as it appears, it would 
have been difficult for them to enforce their authority. 
Edward Haies, the historian of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's 
voyage in 1583, confirms Parkhurst's statement. When 
Sir Humphrey put into the harbour of St. John's, and 
levied upon English and foreigners alike for supplies, 

^ Anthony Parkhurst had accompanied Hawkins in his voyage of 1566. 


commissioners were appointed to make the collection 
both in St. John's and neighbouring harbours. " For," 
he says, " our English marchants commaund all there." 

We have, therefore, two independent witnesses to the 
effect that the English at this period, in St. John's and 
the neighbourhood, were regarded by the fishermen of 
other nations as " lords of the soil," and this before any 
attempt had been made by the Crown of England to 
exercise any authority there. 

Discovery constituted a right at that time, and it 
seems to have been generally respected by all nations. 
Parkhurst excused the comparatively small number of 
English ships at Newfoundland by the statement that 
" the trade our nation hath to Iceland causeth that they 
are not there in such numbers as other nations," in flat 
contradiction to Act 23 Elizabeth, which deplores the 
decrease of the Iceland trade at this same time. 

In closing his letter, Parkhurst made the following 
recommendations : 

" Now to show you my fansie, what places I sup- 
pose meetest to inhabit in those partes discovered 
of late by our nation : There is neare the mouth of 
the grand baie an excellent harbour, called of the 
Frenchmen Chasteau, and one island in the very 
centre of the straight, called Belle Isle, which places if 
they could be peopled and well fortified we shall be 
lordes of the whole of the fishing in short time, if it 
doe so please the Queen's Majesty, and from thence 
send wood and cole with all necessaries to Labrador 
lately discovered ; but I am of opinion and doe most 
steadfastly believe that we shall find as rich mines in 
more temperate places and Climates." 

Parkhurst here refers to the discoveries made by 
Frobisher in his three voyages in 1576-7-8. The 


purpose of the first voyage was " for the search of the 
straight or passage to China/' but, as we shall see,, 
other motives influenced the later vo3/ages. 

Frobisher sailed from Deptford on June 8th, 1576) 
and passing by the Court, then at Greenwich, with his 
fleet of three little vessels, 25, 15, and lO tons respec- 
tively, " we shotte of our ordinance and made the best 
shewe we could ; Her Majesty beholding the same, 
commended it, and bade us farewell with shaking her 
hand at us out of the window," That such vessels 
should have been considered adequate for such an 
undertaking is almost beyond belief, and displays in 
a striking manner the hardihood of English mariners 
of the period. 

They sailed away to the north-west, sighting Iceland 
and Greenland, which they called Friesland, and on 
July 29th "had sight of a newe lande of marvellous 
great height which by the account of the course and 
way they judged to be the Land of Labrador." They 
found themselves in a strait into which they penetrated 
some distance, landing at several islands and having 
intercourse with the natives, the Eskimos. At first they 
seemed to be friendly, but soon manifested the change- 
able and treacherous character for which they were 
noted. Without any offence being given, they entrapped 
and made away with five of Frobisher's men. 

Frobisher got back to England on October ist, and 
probably would have abandoned any further attempts 
in that direction had it not been that a small specimen 
of rock, which he picked up by chance and brought 
back with him, was found to contain gold. This put a 
very different complexion on the affair. " The hope of 
the same golde ore to be founde kindled a greater 
opinion in the heartes of many to advance the voyage 


again," and " some that had great hope of the matter 
sought secretly to have a lease of the places at Her 
Majesty's hands." Michael Lok, a merchant of London, 
at whose cost chiefly the first voyage had been under- 
taken, brought the matter to the notice of the Queen 
and Council. Frobisher also petitioned the Queen for 
privileges over the lands he had discovered. Many 
notable men took an interest in the undertaking, among 
whom was Dr. John Dee, who, in spite of his eccen- 
tricities, was a man of considerable scientific knowledge. 
Coming to Michael Lok to get particulars of the affair, 
a meeting was arranged at Lok's house at which Dr, 
Dee, Frobisher, Stephen Burroughs, Christopher Hall, 
and others were present, when Frobisher's voyage and 
the prospects of a passage to China were thoroughly 

A company was soon formed called " The Company 
of Kathai," of which Michael Lok was the first governor, 
" for the purpose of voyaging and trading to Kathai 
and other Newlands to the North westward." Frobisher 
was appointed High Admiral of all the seas in that 
direction, and was to receive i per cent, on all 
merchandise brought from the same countries. Queen 
Elizabeth ventured £1000, Lord Burleigh, with other 
members of the Privy Council, Sir Thomas Gresham, 
Michael Lok, and many more, various amounts from 
£2^ to ;^300. The instructions given to Frobisher 
show that the prime object was to search for mines 
and to load the vessels with ore. Item 12 says : " If it 
shall happen that the moyenes do not yield the sub- 
stance that is hoped for, then you shall proceede 
towards the discovery of Catheya." If possible, some 
people were to be left to Vv^inter in the strait for the 
purpose of noting the climate and protecting the mines. 


The expedition sailed, reached the straits, and 
although they could find no more ore like the piece 
Frobisher brought back from his first voyage, yet the 
vessels were loaded with ore that the miners thought 
promised well, and all got safely back to England. 
The ore was most carefully guarded, being kept under 
four locks, the keys of which were in the possession of 
different men. Several refiners were engaged to make 
trial of it, and estimates were furnished of the cost of 
refining. The value arrived at by the different experi- 
mentors was from £21 to ;{^53 per ton, and the cost of 
getting it estimated at £%, so that a very considerable 
profit was shown on this venture. Frobisher was 
entertained at Court and all the voyagers made much 
of. " And because the place and country hath never 
before been discovered and had no special name, her 
Majesty named it very properly Meta Incognita as a 
mark and bounds hitherto unknown." Great prepara- 
tions were made for a third voyage to this promising 
gold-field, and many new names were added to the list of 
"venturers," notably those of Dr. Dee and Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert. The following spring fifteen vessels 
set sail, which were expected to return at the end of the 
summer laden with the gold ore. A strong house of timber 
was taken, all ready to be set up, and one hundred men 
and three ships were appointed to inhabit " Meta 
Incognita" all the year, thus intending to put into 
practice the suggestion made on the previous voyage. 
After great dangers and hardships and the loss of one 
vessel, they reached their intended harbour on 
July 31st. The miners were immediately set to work 
at the ore, and others at the erection of the house. 
Several of the ships were sent off to search for other 
mines, and altogether ore seems to have been loaded 


from seven different islands or mines. The author of 
the narrative had grave misgivings. He says, " Many 
symple men (I judge) toke good and bad together ; so 
that among the fleets lading I think much bad ore will 
be found." The ships were ready to sail about the end 
of August, but Frobisher was unwilling to leave without 
making some further attempt to explore the country, 
and went himself to search the straits, finding numbers 
of islands, but not discovering that his so-called strait 
was only a long and narrow bay. Provisions and drink 
had also become scarce owing to leakage, " so that not 
only the provisions which was layde in for the habitation 
was wanting and wasted, but also each shyppes several 
provision spent to their great griefe in their returne, for 
all the way homewards they dranke nothing but water. 
And the great cause of this leakage and wasting was, 
for that ye great timber and seacole, which lay so 
waighty upon ye barrels breke bruised and rotted ye 
hoopes in sunder." ^ 

This occurrence very probably occasioned Parkhurst's 
suggestion to make Chateau a depot for the supply of 
wood and coal." 

Frobisher's fleet sailed for home on August 31st, 
where they arrived in safety. Works had been estab- 
lished at Dartford to extract the precious metals, but 
difficulties seem to have arisen in the method of 
extraction, which is not to be wondered at considering 
the heterogeneous collection of ores with which the ships 
were laden. Apparently, no returns from it were ever 

^ Relics of Frobisher's expedition, including quite a quantity of 
coal, were found by C. F. Hill in 1865 on an island in Frobisher's 
Straits called by the Eskimos " Kodlunarn," that is, " White Man's 

'^ Frobisher's Straits were long supposed to have been on the east 
coast of Greenland, and are so placed on maps in the latter part 
of the eighteenth century. 


received by the Company, although Michael Lok at one 
time offered to take over the whole twelve hundred 
tons at the rate of £^ per ton. In the end, Frobisher 
and Lok quarrelled and their mutual recriminations 
became so bitter, that the high sounding . Company 
of Kathai went out of existence. And nothing more 
is heard of the proposal to plant a colony in Meta 

But Frobisher's voyages were soon to be followed by 
more pronounced efforts on the part of the English, 
both by way of colonization and assertion of rights. 

Perhaps it was owing to the fact that Queen 
Elizabeth had ventured and lost several thousand 
pounds in the Frobisher expeditions, that her attention 
was called particularly to the New World, for we find, 
very shortly after, that she became desirous of knowing 
what the exact rights of the Crown of England were in 
those regions, and requested Dr. Dee to make her 
acquainted with the same. We have already seen that 
Dr. Dee took a practical interest in Frobisher's ven- 
tures, and his attainments as a scientist and mathe- 
matician made him well qualified to prepare the 
statement desired by Queen Elizabeth. The map and 
" vindication of England's rights," dated October 30th, 
1580, which he presented to Queen Elizabeth, are still 
preserved in the Cottonian Collection. 

A few days after Frobisher sailed on his third 
voyage, Queen Elizabeth granted letters patent to Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert, " for the inhabiting and planting of 
our people in America." Seven years prior to this an 
Act had been passed imposing severe penalties on all 
who left England without licence, or who failed to 
return on notice being given. Emigration was dis- 
tinctly discouraged, and it was due to Sir Humphrey 


Gilbert chiefly that a change v/as made in England's 
policy and the first colonies proposed. 

This may be called the dawn of the colonial idea in 
England. Froude says of this period : — 

" The springs of great actions are always difficult to 
analyse, and the force by which a man throws a good 
action out of himself is invincible and mystical like that 
which brings out the blossom and the fruit upon the 
tree. The motives which we find men urging for their 
enterprises seem often insufficient to have prompted 
them to so large a daring. They did what they did 
from a great unrest in them which made them do it, 
and what it was may be best measured by the results 
in the present England and America." 

Before all others of the period, Sir Humphrey Gilbert 
seems to have been possessed with this " great unrest." 

Dr. Dee's Diary, in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, 
contains several very interesting references to his pre- 
sentation of England's claim, and also to interviews 
which he had with many noted men of the day. 

On November 5th, 1578, he writes : — 

" I speake with the Queen hora qui7ita. I declared 
to the Queen her title to Greenland, Estotiland,^ and 

"October 3rd, 1580. On Munday at 1 1 of the clock 
before noon I declared my two rolls of the Queens 
Majesty's title unto herself in the garden at Richmond, 
who appointed after dinner to have furder of the 
matter. Therefore between one and two afternoon, I 
was sent for into her Highness Privy Chamber, when 
the Lord Treasurer, who was also having the matter then 

■^ In many sixteenth century maps the name Estotiland is bestowed 
upon the country north of Labrador. 


slightly in consultation, did seme to dowt much that 
I had or could make the argument probable for Her 
Highness Title so as I pretended. Whereupon I was 
to declare to bis honour more playnely and at his 
leysere what I had sayd and could say therein which 
I did on Tuesday and Wednesday following at his 
chambers where he had me used very honourably on 
his behalf. . . . 

" October. The Queens Majesty to my great com- 
fort {hora quintd) cam with her trayn from the Court 
and at my dore graciously calling me to her, on 
horsbak . . . told me that the Lord Threasover had 
greatly commended my doings for her title, which he 
had to examyn, which title in two rolls he had brought 
home two hours before." 

This has been quoted in part by Mr. Henry Harrisse 
in Decouverte da Terre-Neuve as evidence that Lord 
Burleigh did not support Queen Elizabeth's title to 
North America. Whereas Queen Elizabeth and Dr. 
Dee both infer that he was converted to a belief in its 

On March 2nd, 1574, a petition was presented to the 
Queen for permission to embark on an enterprise for 
the discovery and colonization of rich and unknown 
lands, " fatally reserved for England and for the honour 
of Your Majesty." The petitioners were Sir Humphrey 
Gilbert, Sir George Peckham, Sir Richard Grenville, and 

This first colonization scheme did not materialize at 
once. In 1576 Sir Humphrey Gilbert laid before the 
Queen and Council his reasons for believing in a north- 
west passage. Among the benefits to be derived from 
the voyage of discovery, he suggests " we might in- 
habit some part of those countries and settle there such 


needie people of our country which nowe trouble 
the commonwealthe and commit outrageous offences 
whereby they are daily consumed of the gallows." 

In 1577 he again addressed a memorial to Queen 
Elizabeth, proposing to fit out a fleet of ships of war 
under pretence of a voyage of discovery to Newfound- 
land, where he would destroy all the great ships of 
France, Spain and Portugal. He urged that the ex- 
pedition be undertaken at once, " for the wings of man's 
life are plumed with the feathers of death." 

Letters patent for the term of six years were granted 
to Sir Humphrey Gilbert in June of the following year, 
not to devastate the fishing fleets of foreign nations in 
Newfoundland waters, but peaceably to discover and in- 
habit such unoccupied countries as he might see fit.^ On 
September 23rd of the same year he sailed from Dartford 
with a fleet of eleven ships and five hundred men, but 
in November he wrote to Walsingham from Plymouth 
complaining of the desertion of Mr. Knollys and other 
men of Devonshire, but nevertheless determining to 
continue his purpose with the seven ships remaining 
to him, one of which, the Faulcon, was commanded by 
" Captain Walter Rauley." 

No account has been preserved of this expedition, 
except that it failed of its purpose. They were con- 
tinually buffeted by storms and " lost a tall ship and a 
gallant gentleman. Miles Morgan." They got as far as 
the Cape Verde Islands, but returned to England early 
in 1579. Sir Humphrey had mortgaged his property in 
order to fit out this expedition, and was obliged to 
assign portions of his rights under his letters patent in 

^ Dr. Dee's Diary, August Sth, 1578, says: "Mr. Reynolds, of Brid- 
well, toke his leave of me as he passed toward Dartmouth to go with Sir 
Ilumfrey Gilbert toward Hoch- laga." 


order to raise funds for a second attempt. Dr Dee was 
one of the assigners, and received a grant of Labrador. 
In his Diary, August 25th, 1580, he writes : — " My deal- 
ing with Sir Humphrey Gilbert for his grant of dis- 
covery" ; and on September loth : — 

" Sir Humphrey Gilbert graunted me my request to 
him, made by letter, for the royaltyes of discovery all 
to the North above the parallel of 50 degrees of 
latitude, in the presence of Storner, Sir John Gilbert 
his servant or retainer, and thereuppon toke me by 
the hand with faithful promises in his lodging of 
John Cookes house in Wichercross Street where we 
dined only us three together." 

Sir George Peckham and Sir Thomas Gerrard were 
also assignees under his letters patent, and in 1580 
applied to Walsingham for permission to organize an 
expedition. Also the great Sir Philip Sidney received 
a grant of a Principality, perhaps with the idea of 
founding a real " Arcadia." 

Sir Humphrey Gilbert sailed again in 1583 with a 
fleet of five ships, the largest of which, supplied by 
Captain Walter Raleigh, almost immediately returned 
to England, a serious distemper having broken out on 
board among the crew. The result of this voyage was 
the taking possession of St. John's, Newfoundland, in the 
name of Queen Elizabeth, which was thus the first land 
in the American Continent to be actually in the pos- 
session of England, although, as has been shown, Eng- 
land already claimed the whole seaboard on account of 
Cabot's discovery. 

Edward Haies,the historian of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's 
disastrous voyage, had no doubt of England's title, 
which, he says, "we yet do actually possess therein"; but 


he laments that the English had not explored the New 
Lands to the same extent that the French had done. 
But as both the French and Spaniards had been un- 
successful in planting colonies north of Florida, " it 
seemeth probable God hath reserved the same to be 
reduced into Christian civilitie by the English nation." 
He particularly resented the action of the French in 
bestowing names upon the country, "as if they had 
been the first finders of those coasts, which injustice we 
offered not unto the Spaniards, but left off to discover 
when we approached the Spanish limits. Then seeing 
the English nation only hath right unto these countries 
of America from the Cape of Florida northward by the 
privilege of first discovery, unto which Cabot was 
authorized by royall authority of King Henry VII, 
which right also seemeth strongly defended on our 
behalf by the powerful hand of the Almightie God, 
withstanding the enterprises of other nations." 

When their own voyage met with disaster, and the 
great-souled Sir Humphrey himself was " swallowed up 
of the sea," one wonders if the complacent attitude of 
the narrator remained undisturbed. 

That such should have been the final destiny of the 
greater part of North America leads one to think that 
the prescience of Edward Haies was more than 
ordinary, and that he also possessed in no common 
degree " that enormous force of heart and intellect " 
which was characteristic of so many of the contem- 
poraries of Shakespeare. 

One other remark made by Haies is noticeable in 
respect to the dominance of the English. When the 
Squirrel, Sir Humphrey Gilbert's smallest vessel, arrived 
first at St. John's, the English merchants, " that were 
and always would be Admirals by turns interchangeably 


over the fleets of the fishermen," would not permit her 
to enter the harbour. When, however. Sir Humphrey- 
arrived and displayed his commission from Queen 
Elizabeth, they readily consented, and sent their boats 
to assist him off the shoal upon which he ran aground 
when entering the harbour. 

Although the scheme for the colonization of Newfound- 
land which cost the nobleSir Humphreyhis life,v/as aban- 
doned for twenty-seven years longer, the prosecution of 
the fishery by the British advanced by leaps and bounds. 
Sir Walter Raleigh, writing on July 20th, 1594, to Sir 
Robert Cecil, calls attention to the report that three 
Spanish men-of-war were cruising in the channel. He 
said : — 

" It is likely that all our Newfoundland men will be 
taken up by them if they be not speedily driven from 
the coast, for in the beginning of August our Newland 
fleet are expected, which are above a hundred sayle. 
If thos should be lost it would be the greatest blow 
that ever was given to England." 

But one other authority will be quoted just now on 
this controversy. Sir William Monson, who began his 
career in the Navy in the days of Elizabeth and lived 
until the Commonwealth, left a valuable collection of 
memoirs which have been published under the title of 
Naval Tracts. 

A recent writer (Harrisse) has given the following 
quotations from Monson, in proof of his contention that 
England entirely neglected the lands discovered by 
Cabot : — 

" No relations of Cabot ever mentioned his posses- 
sion or setting his foote ashore to inhabit any of 
the lands betwixt the degrees aforesaid ; and therefore 


we can challenge no right of inheritance wanting proof 
of possession, which is the law acknowledged for right 
of discovery." When viewed with the context it will 
be found that this is not an argument in favour of the 
contention. Monson was upholding the benefits of 
peace, and said that " Spain is more punished by the 
King's peace than by the Queen's war, for by our peace 
England is enlarged by several plantations in America," 
He supposes that some will say of our plantations 
that they were known to us long before, and will advance 
Cabot's discoveries in argument that the new plantations 
were not owing to the " King's peace," but he points out 
that possession was better than discovery as proof of 
title, which had been rendered possible by the long 
continued peace. 

In other parts of his writings he continually claims 
the northern parts of America for England by right of 
discovery and occupation. He says : — 

" Canada was first discovered by the English in the 
days of Henry VII, as all the world acknowledges, and 
none but the first discoverers can pretend title to any 
land newly discovered. This is the title by which the 
King of England holds that part of America from 58 
to 38 degrees, and has held it since the discovery of it 
by Cabot." 

In another place he writes : — 

" It is marvellous if we consider what England is now 
to what it was in former ages — what increase in his 
majestys revenues, what an increase there is of ships in 
number and goodness, what dread and fear all other 
nations apprehend of our greatness by sea, and what 
rumours we spread abroad in all quarters of the world 
to make us famous." 


"It is admirable if we call these things to mind. And 
to come to the particulars of augmentation of our 
trades, of our plantations, and our discoveries, because 
every man shall have his due therein, I will begin with 
Newfoundland, lying upon the main continent of 
America, which the King of Spain challenges as first 
discoverer, but as we acknowledge the King of Spain 
the first light of the west and south-west parts of 
America, so we and all the world must confess that we 
were the first that took possession of the north part 
thereof for the crown of England, and not above two 
years difference between the one and the other. And 
as the Spaniards have from that day to this held their 
possessions in the west, so have we done the like in the 
north ; and though there is no comparison in the point 
of wealth, yet England may boast that the discovery 
from the year aforesaid to this very day hath afforded 
the subjects annually one hundred and twenty thousand 
pounds, and increases the number of many a good ship 
and mariners, as our western parts can witness by their 
fishing in Newfoundland." 

Again he says : — 

" England had some honour thereby in the discovery 
of Newfoundland that since proved most commodious 
to the commonwealth, and most especially to the western 
parts thereof, by their yearly employment of 200 sail of 
ships thither." 

Sir William Monson undoubtedly maintained Eng- 
land's right to North America from Florida to Hudson's 
Straits, and if he had known, as we know, that Cabot 
actually preceded Columbus in the discovery of the 
mainland of America, he would have denied Spain's 
right to any part of it except the West Indies. 


Such are a few (but important) items of evidence on 
British occupation of the new found lands in the six- 
teenth century. I think it must be conceded that there 
is sufficient warranty for the belief that England never 
lost sight of the valuable possessions added to the 
Crown by the discoveries of Cabot. At first coloniza- 
tion, or any form of jurisdiction over the new found 
lands, was as unnecessary for England as it was 
impossible. But what could be done was done. Pro- 
tection and encouragement were given to the fleet of 
fishing vessels, which, in steadily increasing numbers, 
never ceased to make their way across the Western 



HILE the southern shores of Labrador, border- 
ing the Straits of Belle Isle, were regularly 
visited by fishermen from Brittany and the west of 
England, and by whalers from the Basque provinces, 
the eastern and northern coasts would have remained 
unexplored were it not that English sailors persistently 
pursued that ignis fatiius — a North- West Passage. 

The French, Spanish, and Portuguese nations very 
soon abandoned their attempts in this direction, and it 
must be accorded to the glory of English seamen that 
they alone persevered in the endeavour to solve the 
mystery of the North- West. From the narratives of 
these expeditions fleeting glimpses of Labrador can be 

The first, after Frobisher, to seek this supposed short 
road to Cathay was John Davis. He was fitted out by 
the merchants of London, of whom Mr. William Saunder- 
son ^ was the chief Strict instructions were given to 
him to seek for the passage, and not to be turned aside by 
other considerations as was Frobisher. 

In the summer of 1585, with his two little vessels, the 

^ Wm. Saunderson married a niece of Gilbert and Raleigh, and Davis 
was a great friend of Adrian Gilbert, so the connection with previous 
voyages is clearly seen. 



Sunshine of fifty and the Mermaid of thirty-five 
tons, he succeeded in reaching tlie remarkably high 
latitude of 6f. 

On this journey he coasted along the shores of Green- 
land, thus once more restoring communication with that 
almost forgotten country. The Eskimos, whom he met 
in considerable numbers, were most friendly. " They are," 
he said, " very tractable people, void of craft or double- 
dealing, and easy to be brought to any civilite or good 
order," In 1586, he set out again, this time with his 
fleet increased by the Mermaid of 120 tons, and the 
North Star, a pinnace of ten tons. Again he suc- 
ceeded in reaching latitude 6^° , then turning south 
coasted the American shore to latitude 57°. On August 
28th, "having a great mistrust of the weather, he arrived 
in a very fair harbour in the latitude of 56, and sailed 
ten leagues into the same, being two leagues broad 
with very fayre woods on both sides. I landed and 
went sixe miles by ghesse into the country and found 
that the woods were firre, pineapple, alder, yew, withy 
and birch ; here we saw a blacke beare ; this place 
yieldeth great store of birds. Of the partridge and 
pezunt we killed so great store with bowe and arrows ; 
in this place at the habourough mouth we found great 
store of cod. The first of September we set saile and 
coasted the shore with fine weather. The third day 
being calme at noone we stroke saile and let fall a 
cadge anker, to prove whether we could take any fish, 
being in latitude 54.30', in which place we found 
great abundance of cod, so that the hooke was no 
sooner overboard, but presently a fish was taken. It 
was the largest and best reset (?) fish that ever I saw, 
and divers fishermen that were with me sayd that they 
never saw a more suaule (?) or better skull of fish in theyr 


lives. The fourth of September we ankered in a very 
good road among great store of isles, the country low- 
land, pleasant and very full of fayre woods. To the 
north of this place eight leagues, we had a perfect hope 
of the passage, finding a mighty great sea passing 
between two lands west. The south land to our judge- 
ment nothing but isles, we greatly desired to go into 
the sea, but the wind was directly against us. We 
ankered in four fathom fine sand. In this place is foule 
and fish mighty store. The sixt of September having 
a fayre north-west winde, having trimmed our barke, we 
proposed to depart, and sent five of our sailors yong 
men a shore to an island to fetch certain fish which we 
purposed to weather and therefore left it all the night 
covered up on the Isle : the brutish people of the 
country lay secretly lurking in the woods and upon the 
sudden assaulted our men : which when we perceived 
we presently let slip our cables upon the half and under 
our fore sailes bare into the shore, and with all expedi- 
tion discharged a double musket upon them twice, at 
the noice whereof they fled : notwithstanding to our 
very great grief two of our men were slaine with theyre 
arrows and two grievously wounded of whom at this 
present we stand in very great doubt ; onely one escaped 
by swimming, with an arrow shot through his arme. 
These wicked miscreants never offered parley or speech, 
but presently executed theyr cursed fury." 

The " very fayre harbor " in latitude 56° cannot be 
identified, as deep fiords are numerous on that part of 
the coast. Sandwich Bay was no doubt the locality in 
which he harboured, and Hamilton Inlet the " mighty 
great sea" in which he had a perfect hope of the 

In the following year Davis started once more, and 


at the extraordinarily early date of June 24th, reached 
the latitude of 6f 12' "the sea all open to the east- 
wards and northwards." The mariners became alarmed 
and insisted upon turning south, and again Davis 
coasted down the American shore. On the first of 
August he " passed a very great gulfe, the water whirling 
and roaring as it were a meeting of the tides." Another 
account of this voyage says : " To our great admiration 
we saw the sea falling down into the gulfe with a 
mighty over fall, and roaring with divers circular 
motions like a whirlpool in such sort as forcible 
streams pass through the arches of bridges." It is 
referred to afterwards by Davis as " the furious over- 
fall," and is an excellent description of the entrance to 
Hudson's Straits, where the tides rise and fall about forty 
feet. Sir William MacGregor, the Governor of New- 
foundland, in his report of a visit to Labrador, 1905, 
telling of the meeting of the tides here, says • " The clash 
of these two mighty streams roared like a great water- 
fall and produced powerful eddies and whirlpools." ^ 

In the account given by Herrera of the English ships 
which visited Hispaniola in 1527, supposed to be Rut's 
vessel, it says that the ship had been in a frozen sea, 
and coming south " they arrived in a warm sea which 
boiled like water in a kettle." 

Hudson's Straits is the only locality where there is 
such a commotion of the waters. Rut, however, accord- 
ing to his letter, was not north of the Straits of Belle 

The cape at the south entrance to Hudson's Straits 
Davis named " Chidleis Cape," after his neighbour 

^ The first reference to Hudson's Straits is to be found on Ruysch's 
map, 1508. A note on which reads, " Here a raging sea begins, here the 
compasses'of ships do not hold their properties, and vessels having iron are 
not able to return," 


Mr. John Chidley, of Broad Clyst, near Exeter, county- 
Devon. By the 15th of August he had sailed down 
to the Straits of Belle Isle, but failed to find the other 
vessels of his fleet which had separated from him early in 
the summer, with the intention of fishing about lat. 54° 
to 55°. He therefore sailed for home and reached 
Dartmouth on September 15th. In the curious little 
book written by Davis called The World's Hydro- 
graphicalle Description, he says, referring to his last 
voyage, that two ships were fitted out for fishing and 
one for discovery : — 

" Departing from Dartmouth, through Gods' merciful 
favour I arrived at the place of fishing, and there 
according to direction, I left two ships to follow that 
business, taking there faithful promises not to depart 
until my return unto them, which should be, in the 
fine of August, but after my departure in sixteen days 
the ships had finished their voyage and so presently 
departed for England." 

This is the first fishing adventure to the Labrador 
coast of which we have any particulars, and its won- 
derful success no doubt attracted much attention. 

Davis firmly believed that there was a practicable 
north-west passage, and would have made another 
effort to find it, " but by reason of the Spanish 
fleete and unfortunate time of Master Sectretary's 
(Walsingham) death the voyage was ommitted, and 
never sithens attempted." 

In 1602, the Muscovy and Turkey Companies de- 
spatched Captain George Weymouth, in an endeavour 
to follow up Davis's discoveries. He did not succeed in 
reaching so high a latitude as his predecessor, but sailed 
into Hudson's Straits for a considerable distance, and 


as Captain Luke Fox, who fantastically styled himself 
" North West Fox," relates, " did, I conceive, light 
Hudson into his Straights." 

Weymouth also sailed down the northern Labrador 
coast and explored an inlet in latitude 56. 

The Worshipfull Company of Muscovy, in con- 
junction with the East Indian Merchants, sent out 
another expedition in the year 1606 under the com- 
mand of John Knight, who had previously sailed with 
a Danish expedition to Greenland. On June 13th 
he had sight of land in latitude 57° 25', but was caught 
in the ice and drifted south to 56° 48'. Finding his ship 
badly damaged, he decided to put into a small cove to 
effect repairs if possible. While exploring the neigh- 
bourhood, looking for a suitable place to careen his 
vessel, he, his brother, Edward Gorrill the mate, and 
another man, were set upon by the savage Eskimos and 
slain. The rest of the ship's company were left in a 
sore plight, with their ship almost in a sinking condition, 
short handed, and continually attacked by the Eskimos, 
whom they described as " little people, tawney coloured, 
thick-haired, little or no beard, flat nosed, and are man 

They contrived, however, to keep the savages at bay, 
and to lessen the leak by dropping a sail overboard 
against it. In this crippled condition they made their 
way south to Newfoundland, and on July 23rd " they 
espied a dozen shallops fishing and making toward 
them, found themselves at Fogo where they took 
harbour, repaired their ship, and refreshed themselves." 

Not satisfied with the indeterminate attempts of 
Weymouth and Knight, the merchants of London, in 
1610, fitted out Henry Hudson, who was already 
famous as a navigator and explorer, to seek once more 


the much desired passage. Boldly pushing his way 
through the straits, which have since borne his name, 
he discovered the great inland sea, Hudson's Bay. Here 
he wintered, and in the spring determined to explore 
still further west, confidently expecting to succeed 
in the enterprise upon which he was sent. But his 
crew mutinied, and turned him, his son, and the few 
that remained faithful to him, adrift in a little boat, 
doubtless to perish miserably. On the return of 
Hudson's ship through the straits, they fell in with a 
company of Eskimos, who as usual seemed at first very 
friendly, but waiting their opportunity treacherously 
attacked and killed four of the ship's company, among 
whom were the chief mutineers. 

In 1612, the year following the return of Hudson's 
ship, the merchants of London again fitted out an 
expedition, placing it under the command of Sir 
Thomas Button. Two of Hudson's men, Abacuck 
Prickett and Robert Bylot, accompanied him. 

Proceeding at once through Hudson's Straits, he made 
for "Diggess's He," where the mutineers of Hudson's 
ship met their well-deserved fate at the hands of the Es- 
kimos. Here these undaunted savages appeared again 
in considerable numbers, twice attacked his ship and 
killed five of his men. Entering Hudson's Bay he sailed 
southward seeking suitable quarters for the winter, and 
made himself as comfortable as possible ; but viath all 
his precautions lost several of his men from the severe 
cold. In the spring he explored Hudson's Bay as far 
north as 65°, and returning through Hudson's Straits 
passed into the Atlantic "betwixt those islands first 
discovered and named Chidley's Cape by Captain 
Davis, and the north part of America, called by the 
Spaniards, who never saw the same. Cape Labrador ; 


but it is meet by the north-east point of America, 
where there was contention among them, some main- 
taining that those islands were the ' Resolution ' ; but 
at length it proved a strait, and very straight indeed to 
come through, which resolved all doubts." Thus 
writes " North- West Fox" on the evidence of Abacuck 
Prickett. Commentators have thought that Button 
passed out of Hudson's Straits not between Resolution 
Island and the Button Islands, but between Button 
Islands and Cape Chidley. From the description, 
however, there can be little doubt that he passed 
through the narrow channel between Chidley peninsula 
and the mainland, which now bears the name of 
Grenfell Channel. Sir William McGregor thus des- 
cribes it : — 

" This is a passage which leads through from the east 
coast, starting south of Cape Chidley, to the Bay that 
lies on the east side of the Chidley peninsula, opening 
some two or three miles south of Port Burwell. It is 
about two or three hundred yards wide, and was sup- 
posed to be sufficiently deep to permit of the passage 
of large ships through it, thus avoiding the necessity of 
doubling the Chidley peninsula. The navigating lieu- 
tenant of H.M.S. Scylla has, however, after transversing 
the channel twice, reported one spot in it where the 
depth did not exceed five fathoms.^ It is therefore 
necessary'- that it should be more fully examined before 
it can be considered safe for large vessels. Strong 
tides pass through the Grenfell Tickle. It seems to 
be navigated by small icebergs with more draught than 
any ships would have. It runs all the way between 

^ Dr. Grenfell has since again passed through this channel, sounding 
most carefully, and failed to find anywhere less than seventeen fathoms of 


steep hills of bare rock. It is about eight or ten miles 
long, and would, if proved to be safe, be a decided gain 
to vessels passing between the Atlantic and Port 
Burwell, or Ungava and Hudson's Bays." 

One of Button's vessels was the Discovery, and was 
the same vessel in which Hudson and Weymouth 
made their voyages to the same regions. She is 
described as a fly-boat of sixty or seventy tons ; 
this term generally denoted a broad flat -bottomed 
vessel which Vv^ould have easily passed through the 
channel. Nothing is known of Button's other ship, 
the Resolution. 

The Moravian missionaries Kohlmeister and Kmock 
navigated this channel on their way to and from Un- 
gava in 1811. On August 2nd they arrived at the 
mouth of the dreaded Ikkerasak (strait). 

" It is in length about ten miles ; the land on 
each side high and rocky and in some places pre- 
cipitous, but there appeared no rocks in the strait 
itself. The water is deep and clear. Its mouth 
is wide, and soon after entering a bay opens to 
the left, which, by an inlet only just wide enough to 
admit a boat, communicates with a lagoon of consider- 
able magnitude, in which lies an island on its western 
bank. Beyond this bay the passage narrows, and con- 
sequently the stream, always setting from north to 
south, grows more rapid. Here the mountains on both 
sides rise to a great height. Having proceeded for two 
miles in a narrow channel the strait opens again, but 
afterwards contracts to about one thousand yards 
across, immediately beyond which the coast turns to 
the south. As the tide ebbs with the current from 
north to south alonsf the whole Labrador coast, the 


current through the strait is most violent during its 
fall, and less when resisted by its influx or rising. We 
were taught to expect much danger in passing certain 
eddies or whirlpools in the narrow parts of the straits. 
When we passed the first narrow channel, it being low 
water, no whirlpool was perceptible. Having sailed on 
for a little more than half an hour we reached the 
second. Here indeed we discovered a whirlpool, round 
in the manner of a boiling cauldron of ten or twelve 
feet in diameter, with considerable noise and much 
foam, but we passed without the smallest inconvenience. 
The motions of these eddies is so great that they never 
freeze in the severest winter. The ice being drawn 
toward them with great force is carried under water and 
thrown up again, broken into numerous fragments. 
The Ikkerasak is at this season utterly impassable for 

Sir Thomas Button was followed in the next year, 
1614, by Captain Gibbons, once more in the fly-boat 
Discoveiy. Gibbons was a cousin of Sir Thomas 
Button and had accompanied him on his voyage. 
Button spoke of his cousin in terms of the highest 
praise, and declared that " he was not short of any man 
that ever yet he carried to sea," but he did not justify 
Button's recommendation, and his voyage was utterly 

" North-West Fox " thus tersely describes it : — 

" Little is to be writ to any purpos for that hee was put 
by the mouth of Fretum Hudson and with the ice was 
driven into a Bay called by his Company ' Gibbons his 
Hole,' in latitude 58 and V2 upon the North East part of 
America, where he laid ten weeks fast amongst the ice, 
in danger to have been spoyled or never to have got 


away-j so ast the time being lost he was inforced to 

The locality here indicated is probably Saglek Bay. 
It is a pity that such a characteristic name has not 
been perpetuated. 

Later seekers of the north-west passage proceeded 
at once through Hudson's Straits and did not visit 

About the middle of the seventeenth century French 
fur traders found their way overland to Hudson's Bay. 
The two chief pioneers, named Grosseliers and Rodis- 
son, were so impressed with the importance of the 
trade vv^hich might be developed, that they went to 
France and tried to induce the French Government 
to send an expedition there and take possession of 
the country. Receiving no encouragement from their 
own people, they were recommended by the British 
Ambassador at Paris to go to London with their pro- 
position. By his influence they obtained an audience 
with King Charles 11 and Prince Rupert, who were 
both much interested in the proposed enterprise. A 
company was formed and an expedition sent out in 
1668. Arriving at Hudson's Bay they at once built 
a fort, and during the ensuing winter carried on a 
brisk trade with the natives. In the following year 
they returned to London. Application was then 
made to King Charles for a charter, in order that the 
trade might be more fully developed. That easy-going 
monarch acceded to the request and granted a charter, 
the extraordinary terms of which have excited the 
wonder of succeeding generations. More remarkable 
than the charter itself is the fact that, although often 
challenged, its validity has been always upheld, and 
the Hudson Bay Company is still a virile concern. 


fetaining the privileges granted by King Charles, with 
the exception of those it has been well paid to relin'- 

This charter claimed to give " the whole trade of all 
those seas, streights and bays, rivers, lakes, creeks and 
sounds in whatsoever latitude they shall be, that lie 
within the entrance of the Streights commonly called 
Hudson's Streights." The fisheries within the straits 
were also expressly included. By reason of the wonder- 
ful system of rivers and lakes which drain into Hudson's 
Bay and Straits, the company became possessed of a 
territory estimated at nearly one-third of North America. 
It was recognized as a colony or plantation under the 
name of Rupert's Land, and had almost all the powers 
of a self-governing colony of the present day. The 
first Governor of the Company was Prince Rupert, and 
one of its most important members, if not the leading 
spirit, was Sir George Carteret, the friend and neighbour 
of the immortal and immoral Pepys. One is surprised 
not to find the great diarist himself interested in the 
Company, as his hand was generally stretched forth when 
there were any fees or perquisites to be obtained. 

The Hudson Bay Company was therefore the first 
legal possessor of any part of Labrador, its portion 
being all the country drained by rivers falling into 
Hudson's Straits or Bay. 

France looked with great jealousy at the advent of 
the British on her northern borders, and during the wars 
at the end of the seventeenth century captured every 
trading post which had been erected by the Hudson 
Bay Company. By the Treaty of Ryswick (1697), ^^^ 
later by the Treaty of Utrecht (171 3), it was agreed 
that all " countries, islands, forts and colonies, which 
either France or England had possessed before the war 


should be restored to their original owners," and a joint 
commission was to be appointed to delineate the 
respective borders of Canada and Rupert's Land. This 
boundary line was never agreed upon, although the 
commissioners were appointed and met on several 
occasions. In respect to Labrador, the English com- 
missioners proposed that the dividing line should be 
drawn from Cape Grimmington on the Labrador coast 
in lat. 58° 30' to Lake Mistassini, thence S.W. to the 
49th parallel, and thence westward indefinitely. 

The Hudson Bay Company were thus prepared to 
abandon nearly the whole east coast of Labrador to the 
French, and besought the Imperial Government to 
forbid any intrusion by the French to the northward 
of the proposed boundary. 

While the matter was in dispute Labrador was re- 
garded as a no-man's land, free to be adopted by any 
claimant In 1752 a petition was presented to the 
Lords of Trade and Plantations by some London 
merchants for a grant of the country called Labrador, 
between 52° and 60° N. lat., " not at this time possessed 
by any of His Majesty's subjects or the subjects of any 
Christian Prince." But the Hudson Bay Company were 
able to block this project, under the plea, first, that the 
country was included in their charter, and, second, that 
it was an entirely barren land, and the intention of any 
company starting there could only be to poach upon 
their trade. 



THE first attempt to form a permanent establish- 
ment on the coast of Labrador was made by 
Augustin Legardeur, Seigneur de Courtemanche. On 
October 17th, 1702, he obtained from Sieur de Vaud- 
reuil, Governor of New France, a concession for ten 
years of the privilege of trading with the savages, 
and fishing for whales, seals, and cod, on all that part 
of the south coast of Labrador, from the Kegaskat 
River to the River Kessessasskiou^ between lat. 52° and 
53° N. 

About the year 1704 he made a tour of his domain 
and wrote a description of it, which is still to be found 
in the Archive of the Marine at Paris. 

Beginning at the Kegaskat, now Kegashka River, he 
travelled from harbour to harbour, noting the peculiari- 
ties and excellences of each locality. The abundance 
of seals, salmon, cod, feathered game, caribou, and fur- 
bearing animals must have been simply prodigious. 
He was evidently charmed with his acquisition, and 
describes each place in glowing terms. 

Courtemanche established himself at Bay Phely- 

^ On French maps of the early eighteenth century our Grand or 
Hamilton River is called Kessessasskiou, and Hamilton Inlet, " Grande 
Baye des Eskimaux." 



peaux,^ now Bradore, and built there a fort which he 
called Fort Pontchartrain. 

The harbour, he tells us, was excellent, capable of 
containing a hundred vessels of all sizes. The general 
aspect of the bay was "fort gaie,'^ bordered with islands, 
and abounding in such quantities of game that the 
whole colony, both French and Indians, could easily be 
supported there. At the bottom of the bay there were 
three hills, " tres agreable a la veueP 

The rivers and lakes amongst these hills were full 
of salmon and trout, and the waters of the bay teemed 
with codfish, so that he felt assured of sustaining his 
garrison without any difficulty. 

He opened communication with a tribe of Indians in 
the neighbourhood which had not been previously known 
to the French. They were a gentle race, and he thought 
a missionary would have no difficulty in converting them 
to Christianity. It seems probable that he referred to 
the Nascopee Indians, for the Montaignais Indians had 
been, from the time of Champlain, on friendly terms 
with the French, and were among the first to be con- 

Courtemanche induced thirty or forty families of the 
Montaignais to come and settle on his seignor)^, employ- 
ing them both as trappers and fishermen. He was in- 
formed by them that the Basques formerly had carried 
on a very large whale fishery in the straits, and that 
the remains of their establishments were still to be seen 
at Brasdor, Forteau, and St. Benoit's. 

Courtemanche found the bones of whales piled up 

^ This bay, called "Les Islettes" by Jacques Cartier, wasknown in 1740 
as " Bale des Espagnols," and was named "Bay Phelypeaux" by Courte- 
manche. It did not take its present name until late in the eighteenth 
century. On tlie Bellini map, 1744, it is called "Bay Phelypeaux," on 
the Cook and Lane map, 1790, " Labradore Bay." 

THE FRENCH ON LABRADOR, 1700-1763 133 

like sticks of wood, one on the other, in such quantities 
that he estimated one place to contain the remains of 
two thousand to three thousand animals. He counted 
ninety skulls of prodigious size in one little creek. The 
Basques had been compelled to abandon the fishery, not 
from failure in the supply of whales, but because of the 
attacks and depredations of the Eskimos. Courte- 
manche met a St. Malo fisherman at Forteau, who in- 
formed him that his countrymen had carried on a fishery 
there de to us temps. 

But they also had been compelled by the attacks of 
the Eskimos greatly to lessen their operations. Nothing 
could be left behind them in safety, and every spring 
when they returned they would find their huts and 
stages torn down, the contents destroyed, and their 
boats stolen. The fishery on the Labrador shore was 
considered to be much better than on any part of New- 
foundland, but it could not be prosecuted in safety. 
The fishermen were in continual danger of being sur- 
prised and murdered by the treacherous and bloodthirsty 

Charlevoix states in his History of New France that 
about 1650 there were continual and desperate battles 
between the Eskimos and Montaignais, an historical 
feud which continued until the middle of the nineteenth 

Courtemanche found that the Eskimos in considerable 
numbers wintered at Ha-Ha Bay, and records that two 
families of them were massacred even as far west as 
Mecatina. He visited Ha-Ha Bay and examined the site 
of their camp, as well as he was able to do for the stench 
which still lingered there. He noted that they used no 
fire to cook their food, and gnawed the bones like dogs. 

From the beginning to the end of his life on the 


Labrador, it was Courtemanche's chief endeavour to 
make peace with these intractable savages, and his 
principal care to defend himself and the frequenters of 
the coast from their attacks and depredations. 

In 1 7 14 Courtemanche obtained a renewal of his 

" The King being at Marly, and being informed 
of the success of the establishment which the Sieur de 
Courtemanche had made at Phelypeaux Bay, wishing 
to treat him favourably in consideration of the pains 
and cares which his establishment had cost him, hereby 
concedes to him the said Bay of Phelypeaux, where he 
is established, and two leagues of coast either way from 
the said bay, and four leagues inland." 

He was also granted the sole right to trade with the 
savages and to the seal fishery, but in regard to other 
fish he was given a concurrent right only with any other 
vessels that may come there. 

At the same time that his grant was renewed 
Courtemanche was appointed Commandant of the 
Coast of Labrador. 

" His Majesty deeming it necessary that he should 
have an officer of the army to command on the coast 
of Labrador, in the country of the Eskimos, and being 
satisfied with the reliability of the Sieur de Courte- 
manche, captain of one of his companies serving in 
New France, His Majesty wills and requires that he 
command in the said coast of Labrador, and that he 
rule there and settle all differences that may arise 
between His Majesty's subjects in regard to stations 
for the fishery," etc. 

It is surprising to find, from Courtemanche's report 
for 17 1 3, that there were only three French vessels 

THE FRENCH ON LABRADOR, 1700-1763 135 

fishing in the strait — one at Forteau and two at Blanc 
Sablon. No doubt the war with England, just closed, 
had caused the fisheries to be abandoned for a time. 

If one were to believe the enthusiastic memorial on 
the Labrador which here follows, Courtemanche must 
have had a comfortable and flourishing establishment 
at Bay Phelypeaux. The writer is unknown.^ It 
seems probable that he was a priest who had spent a 
summer on the Labrador, and being greatly impressed 
with the abundance of wild life and the beauty of the 
short summers, saw in imagination the country becoming 
as populous and powerful as Sweden or Norway. While 
greatly overestimating its possibilities, many of his 
suggestions for the civilization of the Eskimos, and the 
amelioration of the lot of the fishermen who frequented 
the coast, are most excellent. The suggested name for 
a town, Labradorville, and the proposal that the caribou 
should be domesticated are particularly interesting 
touches. The suggestion that magic should not be used 
in taming the Caribou is a quaint sign of the times. 


Labrador is all that vast country to the east of 
Canada and north of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 
It is a peninsula bounded by the River and Gulf of 
St. Lawrence on the south, the ocean on the east, 
Hudson's Straits on the north, and Hudson's Bay on 
the west. It joins Canada on its western border from 
the Isles of Mingan to Hudson's Bay. 

Labrador belonged entirely to France before .the 
Treaty of Utrecht, with the exception of some small 

^ From a similarity of their aims and propositions, one would be 
inclined to call this author a pre-incarnation of Dr. Grenfell. 


forts which the English had built in the bottom of 
Hudson's Bay. 

The King had ceded to them, by that treaty, a part 
of Labrador — that is to say, the Strait and Bay of 
Hudson with all the coasts and rivers which fall into 
the said Strait and Bay of Hudson. This constitutes a 
large country, but almost uninhabitable and difficult to 
reach. The greater and better part of Labrador remains 
to the King — that is to say, from Mingan to Belle Isle 
and from Belle Isle to the entrance of Hudson's Straits 
with all the rivers and inland country. This coast is 
over 400 leagues in extent. It is certain that furs are 
more abundant and precious in Labrador than in 
Sweden, Norway, or Canada. 

But that which merits more attention is that the 
fishery which can be carried on of salmon, codfish, 
seals, walrus, whales, on this four hundred leagues of 
coast is able to produce greater riches than the richest 
gold-mine in Peru, and with less trouble and expense. 
It is very important and even necessary for the good of 
the State to make at once three or four establishments 
on the coast of Labrador. The abundant fishery of 
salmon, codfish, porpoises, seals, walrus, and whales: 
the walrus teeth which are finer than ivory and are 
used in the fine arts ; the skins of seals, seal oil, walrus 
oil and whale oil ; an infinity of caribous and other 
animals are in this vast country of Labrador, and will 
furnish an infinite number of skins and furs, the 
handsomest, the finest, and most precious in the world. 
It is said that the skin of the caribou takes the colour 
scarlet better than any other kind of skin. All this, 
with mines of copper and iron, that can certainly be 
found in Labrador, is capable of making the proposed 
establishments both rich and flourishing, and of such 

THE FRENCH ON LABRADOR, 1700-1763 137 

great advantage to the State that Labrador should be 
regarded as its Peru. 

In effect, it will furnish France v/ith fish and oils, 
whalebone, skins of seals and caribous, furs, ivory, and 
eider-down, and all in such abundance that a large trade 
can be established with foreign countries. Add to 
these feathers for beds, such as are used in Russia. 

The abundance of all these things will be increased 
In proportion as the country becomes peopled and 
establishments become numerous. But it is necessary 
to begin with three or four. 

The first at Bay Phelypeaux, — a very advantageous 
place, — a good harbour with abundance of seals and 
codfish, and also whales. There are a prodigious 
number of birds called " Moyeis," which furnish quan- 
tities of eider-down, and of which the eggs are good to 
eat. The King has given this post to M. de Courte- 
manche, a Canadian gentleman, during his life. He 
is well-established there, fortified and furnished. The 
seal fishery is the principal industry, and quantities of 
oil and skins are obtained. He has a large garden 
and grows all sorts of vegetables — peas, beans, roots, 
herbs, and salads, and has sown barley and oats, 
which grow well ; perhaps wheat and rye will also 
grow. He keeps horses, cows, sheep, and pigs. The 
neighbourhood of the bay has also been explored. 
It is a plain of about four leagues in extent, but 
with little woods, so that M. de Courtemanche 
has to send for firewood to a distance of three or 
four leagues with his horses and carts. He is also 
able to fetch it by boat from the river of the 
Eskimo which is at a little distance. M. de Courte- 
manche has engaged thirty families of Montaignais to 
settle near his house. They are of great use to him, 


both for the fisheries in summer and for the chase in 
winter. He has made them very sociable. 

Near the house of M. de Courtemanche there is a 
little river containing quantities of salmon and trout. 

In time of war Bay Phelypeaux is not safe because it 
is very open, but three leagues away there is a bay and 
a port called St. Armour, where the fishery is not so 
abundant as at Bay Phelypeaux, but being easy of 
defence one would be in safety there from the attacks of 

The second establishment should be at Petit Nord, in 
the Strait of Belle Isle, either at St. Barbe or at 
Chateau. This establishment would have the advan- 
tage of being in the strait by which the fish and 
whales from the ocean enter into and return from 
the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

At this port a lucrative trade could be carried on 
with the Eskimos, who come there in great numbers 
every summer. 

The third establishment should be on the east coast of 
Labrador, at Kessessaki, which is a large river between 
52° and 53° N. lat. The fishery of all kinds — cod, 
seals, whales — is easy and abundant. There is a great 
quantity of fine woods to build stages, houses, or ships. 
These pinewoods and large trees are a sign that the 
land is fertile, and one will be able to keep animals of 
all sorts and to grow wheat and all kinds of grains, 
vegetables, and root crops. It short, it should become 
a considerable colony and useful to the State, because 
(i) it is not far distant from France, (2) it will return 
great profits for little outlay, (3) the fisheries will yield 
certain and inexhaustible profits — advantages which 
are not found in mines of gold or silver, that are 
very costly to work and soon exhausted, and cause 

THE FRENCH ON LABRADOR, 1700-1763 139 

the death of a great many persons. A great advan- 
tage for this establishment will be that the river Kesses- 
saki is much frequented by the Eskimos, who are adroit 
in the chase and in the fishery, and will be able to 
render great service to the French and furnish them 
with quantities of fish oils, walrus teeth, caribou skins, 
and valuable furs. 

This immense country is filled with animals. 

It is said that the Eskimos number more than thirty 
thousand. They have no communication with any 
Europeans nor with other savages, from whom they 
differ greatly. They have no beards, are light coloured, 
well made and very adroit. They clothe themselves 
very properly in seal skins. They make canoes and 
boats the construction of which is admirable, and are 
good smiths. It is believed that they take their 
origin from the Icelanders or Norwegians, but perhaps 
instead they may have originated from the colony the 
Danes had in Greenland about three hundred years ago 
which has since disappeared. Without doubt one will 
find in their language words of European origin. It is 
easy to throw light upon them by means of Basque, 
Icelandic, Norwegian, and Danish languages. 

The Eskimos are considered extremely savage and 
intractable, ferocious and cruel ; they flee at the sight of 
Europeans, and kill them whenever they are able ; 
but I believe they fly from Europeans because they 
have been maltreated, fired on, and killed, and if 
they attack and kill Europeans it is only by way of 

I think that in the beginning of their intercourse 
with Europeans on their coasts they stole some trifling 
articles and then fled, but this did not warrant that 
they should be fired at and killed. 


Messieurs Jolliet and Constantin, who have visited 
them, have received a thousand tokens of friendship. 
M. Courtemanche, who has had eight or ten interviews 
with them, told me at Versailles in 1 7 1 3 that they are 
good, civil, mild, gay, and warm-hearted men and 
women, and that they danced to do him honour. 
They are very chaste, dislike war, and have a thousand 
good qualities. They are more timid than savage or 
cruel. It is very easy to see that there will be no 
difficulty in civilizing them if proper means are taken. 
They are as follows : — 

1. To forbid the savage Montaignais and other savages 
to make war on them. If the Montaignais had with 
them a Jesuit missionary, he could forbid them to do 
evil to the Eskimo. 

2. It is also necessary to forbid the French fishermen 
and others, under the severest pains and penalties, to 
fire on them or to offer them any insult. 

3. To order the French fishermen to endeavour to 
win them over by offering friendship and even presents 
to those who join them. 

4. In exchange of merchandise and in all commerce 
with them to be sure that they are not discontented, and 
on all occasions to treat them with kindness and good will. 

5. To give them food, but neither to give nor to sell 
them any intoxicating liquors. 

6. To engage the Jesuits to undertake this measure, 
to go amongst them and endeavour to civilize them, for 
the Jesuits have a great talent for humanizing the most 
ferocious savages. When commerce has been estab- 
lished with them, it will be easy to convert them to 
Christianity. Their gentle spirit, their aversion to war, 
and their chastity make them easily disposed to con- 

THE FRENCH ON LABRADOR, 1700-1763 141 

It should also be held in view that in making these 
establishments on the Labrador, not only spiritual but 
also temporal blessings will be poured upon those who 
shall procure this glory to God and Religion. 

The Eskimos civilized, will render important services 
to the French by the fishery and the chase, being very 
adroit both in the one and the other. They will bring 
skins and furs, walrus tusks, fish oils, eider-down and 
feathers for beds, having on their coasts an infinity of 
birds with fine plumage. 

Thus the Eskimos will contribute to render commerce 
on the Labrador both large and lucrative. I forgot to 
say that it is necessary to use every means to induce the 
Eskimos to take up their abode near the French, the 
advantages of which it is unnecessary to detail. Their 
proximity need not be feared, as they are not warlike 
but lazy and timid. 

Those who always make difficulties and have not the 
courage to undertake large enterprises say: — 

I. That the Labrador is a place cold and sterile, where 
nothing that is necessary for life can be found, and con- 
sequently is uninhabitable, and no one should dream of 
endeavouring to colonize there. 

Sweden, Norway, Russia, Scotland, etc., are all more 
northern countries than Labrador, and are consequently 
colder. These places are also filled with lakes and 
mountains to a greater extent than in Labrador. The 
land is as sterile as Labrador, and it is only by 
cultivation that they have become fertile and capable 
of supporting their large population. 

Scotland, Sweden, Norway, and Russia are powerful 
countries, and filled with great and rich towns, all north 
of Kessessaki, Who shall say that one shall not make 


of Labrador as fine a country as these, and build in it 
cities as great and populous ? All that is wanted is 
work and patience. I claim that when the French are 
well led they are as capable, both of one and the 
other, as the Scotch, Swedes, Russians, or any other 
northern people. 

The French are capable of overcoming all difficulties 
when led by chiefs enterprising and steady. The work 
which they have done, are doing, and will do in Canada, 
is proof incontestable of this truth, that cold countries 
are more favourable to them than hot, and that in cold 
countries they are more robust, stronger, more enter- 
prising, and more courageous than they are in hot 
climates, or even in France itself. For this reason it 
will be better to have Canadians, accustomed to cold 
and fatigue, to conduct these establishments on 

It may be said, that to start these colonies on the 
Labrador will be too expensive for the King, who has 
other more pressing claims upon his purse. 

I reply, that it is possible to make these establish- 
ments without costing the King anything. What M. de 
Courtemanche has done at Bay Phelypeaux has cost 
the King nothing. The others will not cost the King 
more. It is only necessary to engage two Canadians, 
wise and enterprising, to undertake the settlements at 
Petit Nord and Kassessaki as M. de Courtemanche has 
done at Bay Phelypeaux. In order that these men 
should not ruin themselves, but should even grow rich 
in sacrificing themselves for the State, it is necessary to 
grant to them all that is possible, to heap upon them 

In order that these posts may be peopled and 
become important, it is necessary by bounties and 

THE FRENCH ON LABRADOR, 1700-1763 143 

privileges to induce the Bayonnais and other French, 
and especially Canadians, to establish themselves there 
and develop the commerce of the country, particularly 
the fishery, the profits of which are immediate, certain, 
and inexhaustible, and do not require a great outlay. 
It is necessary also to give to those who shall undertake 
the settlements of Petit Nord and Kessessaki, (which 
should be named Labradorville), the title of Com- 
mandant or Captain, if they have it not already, as in 
the case of Bay Phelypeaux, and to give to each his 
entire company to reside at his post. Instructions must 
be given : — 

1. Not to encroach one upon the other, to live in 
peace and harmony, and on no account to entice away 
the savages the one from the other. 

2. To forbid the savages to make war on one 

3. To live in peace with the savages, to civilize 
them, trade with them, and induce them by kindness to 
come and live near the French. Especially not to do 
them any violence or injustice. 

4. To have the care of missionaries who shall work 
at the conversion of the savages and the salvation of 
the French. 

5. To explore the country not only on the coasts, 
but also in the interior. To ascend all the rivers to 
their sources, and to engage the French as well as the 
Jesuits to seek the savages in their own homes, and to 
accompany them on their hunting trips and voyages. 

6. To examine the quality of the earth, to see if 
there are mines of copper, iron, or other metals, if there 
are valuable stones, such as marble and porphyry, if 
there are woods fit for houses and ships, if there are 
medicinal plants or drugs. In short, to discover all that 


the country may produce. Nearly all countries are less 
fertile along the sea coast than in the interior. 

7. To be sure to rear cattle and sheep, pigs and 
goats, and even horses. If the Canadian species are 
not able to resist the climate, it is necessary to intro- 
duce cattle from the Faro Islands or Iceland, which are 
countries more rugged and cold than Labrador. These 
animals will provide food for the colony and manure 
for the lands, to render them capable of producing 
grain, vegetables, and root crops. 

8. To endeavour to tame the caribou, which is the 
same animal as the reindeer, so greatly used by the 
Laplander and Russians, but it is necessary to avoid any 
appearance of magic. 

9. To breed quantities of birds, fowls, pigeons, geese, 
ducks, etc. 

10. To sow wheat, rye, oats, barley, and other grains. 
Oats and barley will grow well and afford food for the 
cattle and fowls. Without doubt Turkey wheat will 
grow with a little care. 

In Poland, where the lands are cold, they sow a little 
salt to warm them and render them fertile. The same 
must be done in Labrador, or grain must be brought 
from Canada. 

11. To plant all sorts of vegetables, peas, beans, 
lentils, etc., and also to endeavour to cultivate fruit 

12. To cultivate all sorts of roots and salads, which 
grow very well at Bay Phelypeaux, so M. de Courte- 
manche tells me, and are of great benefit to the crews 
of the fishing vessels. 

13. For the use of the fishermen, to have at each 
settlement one or two large inns, well built, with good 
beds and other conveniences for the comfort of the 

THE FRENCH ON LABRADOR, 1700-1763 145 

seamen, but drunkenness and all other debauchery 
must be strictly forbidden. 

14. At each settlement there must be a Cure, an 
honest man, with a church well and properly adorned, 
where service can be performed with decency. It 
is a means to inspire the savages with respect and an 
inclination for Christianity. It is fitting that these 
Cures should be of the St. Sulpician order or some other 
community, if the Jesuits will not undertake the work. 

15. The commandants must be instructed to keep 
the Crown informed of all that is required for the good 
and for the increase of the settlements. 

16. They should take care that solid and commodious 
houses be built, for which they should furnish plans. 
Lime can be made in the country, and it is possible to 
make bricks, tiles, and pottery. 

These means, and many others known to those who 
are more experienced than I, are able to render the 
settlements on the Labrador very considerable in a 
short time and without any expense to the King, and 
to attract there numbers of vessels which will bring 
all that is required, and take back fish, oils, and other 
produce. This will maintain a great commerce, will 
enrich the country and the merchants, and be very use- 
ful to the State, 

If it is possible to keep bees one can make hydromel, 
as in Muscovy and Poland, where quantities of bees 
are kept, although they are more northern countries 
than Labrador. 

The wool from the sheep will furnish clothes. Also 
clothes may be made from the sheep skins, as is the 
custom in many places, and of seal skins like the 
Eskimos, who are very properly clad. 

The ships can bring them wine and other commodities 



which the country is not able to furnish, and in exchange 
the inhabitants will give fish, oils, etc., which the country- 
produces in such quantities that they will be able to 
buy all the commodities of France and Canada they 
have need of, and the colony will become a rich and 
powerful State. 

The colony of Placentia is a place more sterile than 
Labrador. This barrenness occasions the colonists to 
apply themselves entirely to the codfishery, which fur- 
nishes the means to supply them with all that is neces- 
sary and even to grow rich. 

It is possible, perhaps, that it will be more advan- 
tageous for the colonists of Labrador and for the State, 
that they should apply themselves entirely to the fishery 
which produces such immense profits. 

Two difficulties are still made. 

1. That in Labrador the cold is of such long duration 
and so stormy that the colonists v/ould not be able to 
stand it. To which I reply, that Norwegians and Swedes 
do not mind the cold at all, and that good houses, well 
sealed with wool or moss, are complete protection against 
it. Add to this that Canadian men and women, who will 
form these colonies, are accustomed to the severest cold. 

2. It is said that there are not sufficient food and 
commodities there to support a large colony. I reply 
that beef, veal, mutton, and game are not wanting, 
neither are fish, fresh and salted, nor vegetables and roots. 

It is possible to raise excellent pigs, but they must 
not be allowed to eat fish, and during the fishing season 
must be kept at a distance from the sea. Beef and 
pork, and also the caribou meat, can be salted and 
smoked. The country abounds with game, and the 
birds furnish abundance of good eggs. 

Oats and barley will come to maturity, and with 

THE FRENCH ON LABRADOR, 1700-1763 147 

the great commerce in the products of the country are 
more than sufficient to support a large and numerous 
colony. If the wheat and rye will not come to maturity 
they can be imported from Canada, which will be a 
good thing for Canada. It must be admitted from 
all I have stated in this memoir, that the reasons for 
establishing colonies on the Labrador are convincing, 
and the means thereto ample and easy. 

It remains then to carry out the proposal, to 
grant permission to those who have the courage to 
found these settlements, and to accord to them all that 
is suitable in order that they may not be ruined in 
sacrificing themselves for the honour and advantage of 
the State as well as for God and Religion. 

Six months later, the author supplements this memoir 
with additional information received from Labrador in 
three letters from M. Courtemanche and M. Lair, his 
chaplain, and reiterates his proposition for the establish- 
ment of three colonies on the Labrador. M. Lair's 
letter is addressed to Madame de Courtemanche, who was 
in Bayonne, and is of much interest. It is written from 
Bay Phelypeaux, October i6th, 1716: — 

" Madam, 

" This is to salute you as the most humble of your 
servitors. I trust that this present will find you well 
and happily arrived in France. 

" After your departure, the savage Eskimos have 
visited your coasts. They came first to Forteau, 
where the people of Sieur de la Rue had commerce 
with them the first Sunday after your departure. 
Mestay, who was out shooting, saw them first on 
the point between the fishing stages of Vallee and 
Chardot, and came after vespers to give the news 


to M. Courtemanche, and hastened to send Mon- 
sieur, your son/ with some of your people to speak to 
them and occupy them while he made ready one of the 
boats to go himself. But the Eskimos, who apparently 
noticed that yourjpeople were not afraid of them, and 
also being much terrified at the sight of a man on horse- 
back, fled during the night, and M. Courtemanche has 
not been able to find them, although seeking them for 
three days in his boat. 

" I assure you. Madam, that M, de Courtemanche 
exposes himself too much to the wind and the rain, 
which falls without ceasing, and caused much anxiety 
to Mdlle de Courtemanche and all of us until his return. 
He is somewhat upset by the hardships of his journey, 
but I trust, by the Grace of God, it will be nothing. 

" This journey of M. Courtemanche has not prevented 
these savage animals from having taken many boats 
from the coast. I do not know how many there were 
at Isle au Bois, but your people say there are but two 
old ones left, and one of them is wrecked. They have 
broken open the huts, upset the stages, and choped up 
the barrels in which the seines were stowed away. They 
have done the same at Little River, besides throwing 
all the grappling irons into the water, scattering the salt, 
and cutting the seines in pieces. 

" Your children. Madam, are well ; your little 
daughter often asks if you will return soon. There is 
no news in the family circle. Take care of your health. 
Madam, and do not be worried about Monsieur, whose 
indisposition will be nothing. A good look-out is 
always kept for the Eskimos. 

" I take the liberty. Madam, to sign myself, 

" Your very humble and obedient servant, 
" Lair. Pretre." 

' Sr. de Biouagiie, by a former husband. 

THE FRENCH ON LABRADOR, 1700-1763 149 

Courtemanche writes that this band of Eskimos 
numbered about eight hundred, and that they had 
firearms of various sorts in their possession. As they 
were thought to be too timid and ignorant to use them 
themselves, it was supposed that some Europeans had 
taken up their abode with them. 

Our enthusiastic memorialist does not seem to have 
been deterred by this disturbed condition of the 
country, but suggests that his proposed settlements 
should be further protected by a watch tower of 
thirty to seventy feet high, and an armed brigantine 
ready at all times to go in pursuit of any marauding 
bands of Eskimos. His representations, however, 
were unheeded, and the great and populous towns 
which he prophesied for Labrador are as far off as 

The reports from the coast the following year but 
repeat the stories of attacks from the Eskimos, " who 
only put foot to ground in one harbour to steal what 
they require and then fly off to another." 

In October a band of them arrived at Bay Phelypeaux 
who appeared to be peaceably inclined, and came with 
Courtemanche to the fort, " and in no time the house 
was overrun with these barbarians as if they had been 
brought up there." They stole everything they could 
lay hands on, even the buttons from M. Courtemanche's 
coat. Leaving Bay Phelypeaux, they wintered about 
fifteen leagues to the westward. On the 15th May 
following they returned, but would not enter the fort 
again. When Courtemanche tried to persuade them, 
they apparently misunderstood his peaceful intentions 
and attacked him. In the fight which ensued Courte- 
manche took one of the boats and made prisoners 
of the occupants, one woman, two girls, and a little 


boy. Of the latter it is laconically written, " qui receu 
la baptime avan sa mort." 

We gather from these different letters and reports 
that Courtemanche lived quite the life of a Grand 
Seigneur on the Labrador. With his French and 
French-Canadian trappers and fishermen, and thirty 
to forty families of Montaignais Indians, the settlement 
must have been quite large, and justified the estimate 
made of the ruins in 1840 that they represented about 
two hundred houses. 

Courtemanche died in 17 17, and was succeeded by 
his son-in-law, de Brouague, Writing on September 
9th, 171 8, to the Council of the Marine, Brouague 
acknowledges their letter of February 9th, and thanks 
them for appointing him Commandant of " Bras dort," 
and for the grant from His Majesty that " we should 
enjoy the establishment which the late M. de Courte- 
manche had made." It will be noticed that Brouague 
thanks the Council for the grant in the name of his 
mother and half-sisters as well as his own. 

His reports seem to be quite illiterate compared 
to those of Courtemanche. For forty-one years, almost 
without intermission, he wrote an annual letter to the 
Council of the Marine, detailing the events which 
took place on the Labrador. They consist prin- 
cipally of accounts of the depredations of the Eskimos, 
and his efforts to warn and protect the fishermen, 
It soon became a practice to make Bay Phely- 
peaux the headquarters for the coast, and at 
the end of each season the fishermen brought their 
boats and gear for him to take care of, knowing that 
anything left unguarded would be stolen or destroyed. 
On several occasions small sealing posts, where three 
or four men only were employed, were attacked and 

THE FRENCH ON LABRADOR, 1700-1763 151 

the fishermen slain. Reprisals were naturally of 
frequent occurrence, and the Eskimos were shot with 
little compunction by the enraged fishermen. Brou- 
ague's post was by no means a sinecure. One of his 
duties was the settlement of disputes among the fisher- 
men themselves. As in our own day, the favourite 
'• berths," i.e. fishing stations, were much sought after, and 
excited great competition, fair and otherwise. The cus- 
tom seemed to be for each vessel arriving on the coast 
to go or send to Bay Phelypeaux and procure a licence 
to fish in the locality each had selected in turn of 
arrival. Some of the fishermen did not conform to 
this regulation, those from the Province of Quebec 
particularly refusing to recognize Brouague's authority, 
often occasioning broils which he was powerless to put 

Each year he made a list of the vessels fishing on 
the coast, with the name of the captain, the number 
of men employed, and the quantity of oil and codfish 
secured (see Appendix). Isle au Bois and Blanc Sablon 
seem to have been the favourite fishing places ; a 
preference which has been displayed from Cartier's 
time to the present date. 

The methods pursued in the fishery at that time are 
not recorded, but Brouague writes to the Council of the 
Marine saying that some of the captains had protested 
against the use of "faux" — that is, "jiggers." They 
stated that many more fish were wounded than were 
taken, that the wounded fish fled away and were 
followed by the rest, and that they were of opinion 
that if the practice was continued the codfish would 
abandon the coast as they had that of Petit Nord, 
Newfoundland. A memorandum is made on the 
margin of this report to call the attention of the western 


towns to the protest. Happily their misgivings were 
not realized.^ 

Brouague set himself to learn the Eskimo language 
from the woman taken captive in Courtemanche's time, 
and was afterwards able to converse with them. He 
solemnly records some astonishing tales about the 
Eskimos, learned from this woman. One tribe, she 
said, were mere dwarfs, two or three feet high, but 
remarkably fierce and active ; another tribe had white 
hair from the time of their birth, while a third bore 
a remarkable resemblance to the " Uniped " seen by 
the Norsemen, having one leg, one arm, and one eye. 
A curious persistence or repetition of a myth. 

On several occasions, if not every autumn, Brouague 
sent a party of Montaignais Indians, under the command 
of some of his French-Canadian trappers, to New- 
foundland to spend the winter hunting and trapping, 
game being more plentiful on that island than on the 
Labrador coast. He instructed them to keep a look- 
out for the Red Indians of Newfoundland, and to 
endeavour to make friends with them. They wintered 
at Bell Bay, which appears on the Chaviteau map, 
1698, and Bellini map, 1741, and is undoubtedly Bonne 
Bay. They found that the Beothuks had been there 
quite recently, but had left and could not be found 
afterwards. The Montaignais said they were quite a 
numerous race. There is a tradition that the Mon- 
taignais and Beothuks were always good friends, and 
that the remnants of the latter unhappy race left 
Newfoundland and joined their friends on the Labrador, 
a tradition which one would be glad to find true. 

In 1729 a Boston vessel was driven by a south-west 

^ The use of jiggers is prohibited on the Canadian Labrador in the 
present day. 

THE FRENCH ON LABRADOR, 1700-1763 153 

gale into Isle au Bois, and was promptly confiscated by 
the admiral of the port, but afterwards released. A 
few days later, four Boston vessels put into the same 
port, but left the next morning. These were no doubt 
the forerunners of that numerous fleet which in later 
years monopolized the fisheries on that coast. 

The last report from Brouague which I have been 
able to procure was written in 1743 ; but he continued 
at his post for at least sixteen years longer, for in 17 59 
a letter was written by the President of the Navy 
Board in Paris to the Governors of Quebec, comment- 
ing on the depredations of the Eskimos, and suggesting 
that another commandant be appointed on the coast of 
Labrador in place of Brouague, " who was old and 
worn out"! Finally, in 1762, the President of the 
Navy Board declined to grant to an applicant the con- 
cession lately held by the Sieur Brouague, " which goes 
to Sieur de Courtemanche, if the English offer no 

Therefore Brouague's death must have occurred 
between 1759 and 1762, possibly before the conquering 
English sent to dispossess him of the post which he had 
so honourably filled for forty-one years. 

The settlement at Bradore must soon have been 
abandoned and fallen into ruins, which eighty years 
later were mistaken for the remains of the mythical 
town of Brest. 





No. OF Ships. 

Qtls. Fish. 















































The fishery was carried on principally at Isle aux 
Bois, but also at Bradore, Blanc Sablon, Forteau, and 
St. Modeste. 

A vessel went into Chateau in 1742, for the seal 
fishery, and traded peaceably with the Eskimos, evi- 
dently a notable occurrence, showing that the harbour 
had not been frequented previously. During this period 
the Basques sent three to six vessels annually to Port- 
au-Choix on the north-west coast of Newfoundland^ 
but are not reported on the I^abrador coast. 



A WITTY writer once described the Eskimos as : 
" Singular composite beings, — a link between 
savages and seals, — putting the seals' bodies into their 
own, and encasing themselves in the skins of the seals, 
thus walking to and fro a compound formation. A 
transverse section would discover them to be stratified 
like a roly-poly pudding — first of all seal, then biped, 
seal in the centre with biped, and seal at the bottom. 
Yet, singularly enough, these savages are cheerful and 
really seem to enjoy life. Though in the coldest and 
most comfortless dens of the earth, they are ever on 
the grin whatever happens, — they grin when they rub 
their noses with snow, when they blow their fingers^ 
when they lubricate themselves inside and out with the 
fat of the seal. ' Truly, then,' as Sterne says, ' Provi- 
dence, thou art merciful ! ' " 

When one considers the extraordinary life the Eskimos 
lead, in regions where no other human beings could 
long subsist, much less flourish, it must be conceded 
that the writer, quoted above, has stated a natural fact, 
and that evolution and environment have produced a 
type of human being which has actually some points 
of resemblance to the animals upon which it principally 
subsists. One striking point of resemblance is the 
abundant adipose tissue with which beneficent nature 



has covered both man and animal to enable them to 
live in such intense cold ; also the Eskimo, in his 
kayak, on the water, is so wonderfully expert, that he, 
as well as the seal, may be said to be amphibious. 
John Davis, one of the earliest English observers to 
write of them, said : " They are never out of the water, 
but live in the nature of fishes." 

" Eskimos " is the name bestowed upon the race in 
contempt by the Indians, and means in the Algonquin 
language, " eaters of raw flesh." It was first used, in 
the form of " Esquimawes," by Hakluyt in his Discourse 
of Western Planting, 1584. They speak of themselves 
as " Innuit," that is " men," in distinction to the rest of 
the world, whom they call " Kablunaet," meaning " sons 
of dogs." The common national appellation, in both 
Greenland and Labrador, is " Karalit," the meaning of 
which is not clear, but is probably derived from " Kalla," 
the Adam of their traditions.^ 

The origin and history of the Eskimos is one of the 
most interesting ethnographical studies. It is one of 
the most widely spread of human families, scattered 
bands of them occupying the whole northern part of 
America, from Greenland to Behring Straits, a distance 
of over five thousand miles. Throughout this enormous 
region the same language is spoken, the same customs 
prevail, and the same weapons are used. When some 
of these families were first encountered by white men, 
they had been so long separated from the rest of their 
race that all knowledge and remembrance of them had 
been lost. 

Dr. Kane found one tribe who were greatly surprised 
to learn that they were not the sole inhabitants of the 

^ Another explanation is that it is derived from Skraeling, the name 
given to them by the Norsemen. 


earth, which, however, in their case, was somewhat 

The Greenlanders had some knowledge of having 
come from the far west, where others of their race 
lived, but the Labrador branch knew nothing of the 
Greenlanders, and it is thought probable that a thousand 
years might have elapsed since any communication had 
taken place between the Labrador Eskimos and the 
inhabitants of Behring Straits. It is surprising, there- 
fore, to find that the language had remained almost 
identical with these long-separated tribes. The first 
Moravian missionaries, who had learned the language 
in Greenland, were able to converse with the Labrador 
Eskimos on their first encounter with perfect under- 
standing ; and Brother Meirtsching, a Moravian Mis- 
sionary from the Labrador, who accompanied the 
McLure expedition to the Arctic regions north of 
Behring Straits, reported that the language, spoken by 
the Eskimos there, was identical with that of Labrador. 
Quite recently (1901) one of the Moravian Brethren 
went from Labrador to Alaska, and was able to con- 
verse with the Eskimos there quite freely. Captain 
C. F. Hall, who lived familiarly with the Eskimos in 
Frobisher's Straits for several years, gives evidence 
which somewhat qualifies the above. He says : — 

" The pronunciations of the same words by Eskimos 
living a considerable distance apart and having little 
intercourse, is so different that they can hardly under- 
stand each other on coming together. It was with the 
greatest difficulty that the Innuits who came to Field 
Bay from the northern shores of Hudson's Straits could 
make themselves understood by the Innuits residing 
north of them. Sometimes Innuits arrive from North- 
umberland Inlet, and it takes a long time for the two 


parties to understand each other. Still more difficult 
is it for a Greenlander to be understood by those on 
the west side of Davis Strait." 

Hall seems to speak of pronunciation rather than any 
actual difference of words or construction, which seem to 
be the same practically throughout this enormous region. 

This indicates that through all these hundreds, 
perhaps thousands of years, no development or change 
has taken place in their manner of life, and no necessity 
has arisen for new words or expressions. It also be- 
tokens a remarkable aloofness from other nations, as 
any intercourse would certainly have left some trace 
upon the language. Brother Miertsching did, however, 
discover one tribe of Eskimos in North-West America 
whose dialect had been considerably changed by associa- 
tion with the neighbouring Indian tribes. 

From some similarity of physique it was long sup- 
posed that the Eskimos had sprung from the Mongolian 
race and had gradually spread from Asia to America. 
Crantz, the historian of Greenland, supports this theory, 
but later writers have demonstrated that the contrary is 
the case, and that the Asiatic Eskimos are, in fact, a 
contribution from the New World to the Old, and that 
this migration took place in comparatively modern 
times. No resemblance can be traced between the 
Mongolian and Eskimo languages, but the Eskimo 
language has the polysynthetical construction which 
characterizes American-Indian languages, and has no 
counterpart among the languages of the Old World ex- 
cept, in a very moderate degree, the Basque, A recent 
visitor to the Basque Provinces remarks that the facial 
characteristics of the people are strikingly Mongolian. 

Dr. Rink, who is considered the greatest authority on 
the Eskimos, made a very close analytical study of the 


different dialects spoken by them, and deduced from his 
studies the theory that they once inhabited a narrower 
original home. That they were probably, in some far 
off age, an inland people who had followed one of the 
great rivers down to the Arctic Ocean, and from thence 
spread east and west to the regions in which they were 
found at the dawn of modern history. 

It is probable that the antecedents of the Eskimo, as 
well as of the American tribes, became separated from 
the rest of mankind at a very early period of the world's 
history, and that environment and evolution have pro- 
duced the remarkable characteristics for which they are 

It has been noted that the Eskimo, in physique, in the 
shape of his skull and also in his weapons and implements, 
bearsa striking resemblance to the Cave men. Thiswould 
lead one to imagine that the Eskimo is therefore a case 
of arrested development, and that they had been left be- 
hind in the general development of the human race. 
But when the surroundings in which they were forced to 
live are considered, it must be concluded that the Eskimos 
had ascended as far in the scale of human life as it was 
possible for them to reach. Their dress, their food, their 
habitations, their weapons, and habits were all the best 
possible that could be evolved for their circumstances. In 
theirprimitive condition, as ahumanfamily,theyincreased 
and flourished ; under civilization with civilized food, 
dress, etc., they have become rapidly decadent, and must 
soon disappear from those northern confines of the earth 
which they have made their own, and where no other 
branch of the human family can or will succeed them. 

Franz Boas, in his interesting studies of the Eskimos, 
calls attention to the curious fact that their name for 
" whitemen," — Kablunaet or Kodlunet, is the same from 


Greenland to Behring Straits, and so far as history is 
able to tell us, the first encounter between Eskimos and 
Europeans took place about nine hundred years ago in 
Labrador, and the next three hundred years later in Green- 
land. As there had certainly been no communication with 
the Western Eskimos for hundreds of years, how did the 
latter learn the name? A possible explanation is that 
the name at first implied all foreigners not Eskimos, 
and only lately came to mean white men in particular. 

Boas believes that the original home of the Eskimo 
is the lake region west of Hudson's Bay, for the reason 
that the Western Eskimos point eastward as the scene 
of the exploits of their traditional heroes, the Labra- 
doreans and Greenlanders point westward, and the 
Eskimos of the far north point to the south. All 
authorities are agreed that the tide of emigration spread 
from the western side of Davis Straits to Greenland. 

The theory has been advanced that, historically 
speaking, the Eskimos inhabit a diminishing area, being 
gradually forced to more and more northern regions by 
the enmity of the Indian tribes. But no evidence has 
been produced to show that they ever occupied any por- 
tion of the eastern seaboard of America south of the 
Straits of Belle Isle, except that they were in the habit 
of making summer excursions to the North of New- 
foundland. When, however, one considers what enor- 
mous distances of place, and consequently of time, 
separate Eskimo tribes having precisely similar customs 
and language, it is evident that long jeons of time were 
requisite for them to have developed their well-known 
characteristics, and for them to have accommodated 
themselves to the Arctic regions which have become 
their natural habitat. It can therefore be asserted con- 
fidently that, during historic times, their range has been 


co-extant with that of the seal on which they mainly 
subsist, and consequently has never been farther south 
than the north shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

The first encounter between Europeans and Eskimos 
occurred when the Norsemen visited Labrador and 
Newfoundland about the years 1000-1003. There is no 
record in the Icelandic sagas of their race being known 
prior to that time, and, in fact, all Icelandic historians 
state definitely that no human beings were found in Green- 
land when they first went there, although broken oars 
and other debris showing men's handiwork were oc- 
casionally seen upon the seashore. It was not until the 
middle of the fourteenth century that the Eskimos 
suddenly made their appearance at the Norse settle- 
ments in Greenland, and therefore the accounts of the 
" Skraelings," encountered in Vinland as told in the 
saga of Eric the Red, were not derived from knowledge 
obtained in Greenland. 

It has already been related how the attacks of the 
" Skraelings " caused the Norsemen to abandon their 
project to settle in Vinland, and how they completely 
extirpated the Norse settlers in Greenland, so that for 
nearly two hundred years Greenland itself was wellnigh 

The first knowledge of the Eskimos obtained by 
Englishmen was when three savages, " clothed in beastes 
skinnes, who eat raw flesh," were presented to King 
Henry VII by Sebastian Cabot. 

It is a very curious circumstance that Jacques Cartier 
does not mention seeing the Eskimos during the several 
voyages which he made along the southern Labrador 
coast. The Indians whom he describes were undoubtedly 
the Montaignais, and one is inclined to decide that there 
were no Eskimos on that coast at that time, as he went 



on shore in many places, and would certainly have 
described them had he encountered them. 

Neither are they mentioned in the accounts of the 
voyage of Roberval, who next followed Cartier through 
the straits, nor in the Routier of Jehan Alphonse. The 
Routier Rime oi ]eh.2Ln Mallart, 1^4.6-y, says: — 

" The people inhabiting Labrador are dressed in furs. 
Their houses are in the ground. The land is cold and 
covered with ice ; here and there are found pine trees, 
but no others. The coast is dangerous by reason of ice 
and islands." 

A legend on the Mattioli map of 1547, describing the 
inhabitants of Baccalaos (Newfoundland), says they ate 
raw flesh, which the Beothuks did not do ; further on it 
says of the inhabitants of Labrador that they were 
idolatrous and warlike, and clothed themselves in skins 
as did the inhabitants of Baccalaos. Thus indicating a 
hazy notion of the Eskimos, but not specifying that they 
occupied the Straits of Belle Isle. 

Gomara's history of the West Indies, 1551, gives a long 
account of the inhabitants of Labrador, which does not 
describe the Eskimos in any particular. 

The demons which are so quaintly pictured with 
wings and long tails on the map of Gastaldi-Ramusio, 
and the Island of Demons which is found on so many 
maps off the Labrador coast, indicate some vague 
knowledge of the Eskimos. But, except in the sagas, 
no description of them can be found until the voyage 
of Frobisher in 1576. 

According to Geo. Best's Nai-rative of this voyage, 
great friendliness was displayed by the Eskimos when 
first encountered. The}/- came aboard the ship, bringing 
salmon and other flesh, which they bartered for " bells, 


looking-glasses and other toys." " After great courtesy 
and many meetings," the mariners relaxed their vigi- 
lance, and five of them going on shore one day were 
entrapped, and neither they nor the boat were seen 
again. This attack seems to have been entirely un- 
provoked ; but we know only one side of the story. 
Later on, Frobisher succeeded in decoying one of the 
men to his kayak alongside the ship, and seizing- 
hold of him " pluckt him and his boat into the ship." 
This man was taken to England and made much 
of; his portrait, painted by Jan Van Heere, is still 
preserved in the public library at Antwerp. On the 
next voyage Frobisher captured a man and a woman, 
hoping to find out from them what had become of his 
lost sailors. The woman had a little infant with her, 
which was unfortunately wounded in the arm. The 
surgeon of the ship bound it up with some healing salve, 
" but she, not acquainted with such kinde of surgerie, 
plucked the salves away, and by continued licking with 
her own tongue, not much unlike our dogges, healed up 
the child's arm." 

Preserved among the State Papers at the Record 
Office is a long account of the illness and death of the 
man and a description of the woman, written in Latin 
by Dr. Edward Doddinge. It is an interesting docu- 
ment, but lack of space precludes its reproduction. 
The man, whose name was " Calighoughe," died of 
pulmonary disease, brought on by having two ribs 
broken at some previous period which had not reunited. 

When called to see him at the last, Doddinge applied 
some restorative, which caused him to rouse himself 
and to recognize his friends. He uttered a few words 
of English that he had been able to learn, " then sang 
aloud the same chant with which his companions and 


countrymen, standing on the sea-shore, had lamented 
his own departure. Just as swans, foreseeing all the 
good in death, utter a song of joy as they die. Scarcely 
had I left when he passed from life to death with these 
words on his lips, ' God be with you ! ' " 

Doddinge was deeply grieved not only by his death, 
but by the thought that Her Gracious Majesty, Queen 
Elizabeth, who had expressed a great desire to see him, 
would be disappointed. The woman was very un- 
willingly persuaded to attend his burial, and Doddinge 
notes that " she either surpasses all our countrymen in 
wisdom and patience, or falls far short even of the 
brute creation in feeling, for she displayed absolutely 
no emotion at his death and no sorrow for it, making 
clear, by this last attitude, what we had long suspected, 
that she regarded him with complete contempt, and in 
fact had shrunk from his embraces." 

John Davis, when he re-discovered Greenland, found 
the Eskimos there in great numbers, and by " curtesee " 
endeavoured to allure them. " When they came unto 
us, we caused our musicians to play, ourselves dancing 
and making many signs of friendship." By means of 
this gentle and genial behaviour they got on very good 
terms. " Many times," he relates, " they waved us on 
shore to play at the football, and some of our company 
went on shore to play with them, and our men did cast 
them down as soon as they came to strike the ball." 
He declared them to be " very tractable people, void of 
craft or double dealing, and easily to be brought to any 
civiltie or good order." But when he encountered them 
on the Labrador on his second voyage, they treach- 
erously attacked and killed some of his crew, " without 
having offered parley or speech." 

After Davis, the next information obtained of the 


Eskimos is from the early seekers of the North-West 
Passage, — Hall, Hudson, Button, Gibbons, Knight, etc., 
who met them in Hudson's Straits or northern Labrador. 
They all had the same story to tell : friendliness and 
good-humour at first, suddenly changed into treacherous 
enmity and fierce attacks, without any apparent cause. 
It hardly seems possible that all these voyagers were to 
blame in this respect, and we know, on the contrary, 
that it was the general policy of all English voyagers 
to cultivate friendly relations with the Indian tribes, 
even to the extent of taking " musicians, hobby-horses, 
and such-like conceits," for their amusement. It must 
be concluded, therefore, that the Labrador Eskimos 
were a particularly fierce and truculent race. It is pro- 
bable that their desire for and appropriation of the 
boats, the wonderful new weapons and implements which 
the white people possessed, caused the first breaches of 
the peace. In their savage state they were also a most 
arrogant race, esteeming themselves the lords of creation 
and despising the " Kablunaet." At the end of the 
eighteenth century, after they had had considerable in- 
tercourse with Europeans, Cartwright relates that this 
feeling of superiority still generally prevailed, and it was 
to give them a more correct idea of their relative im- 
portance that he took a family of them to England 
with such sad results, as will be told later. 

The Eskimos seem to have been the Ishmaels of 
North America, — their hand was against every man, 
and every man's hand was against them. Their feuds 
with the North American Indians were continual and 
bloodthirsty to a terrible degree. I have given reasons 
for my belief that the Eskimos did not frequent south- 
ern Labrador and the Straits of Belle Isle at the 
time of the discovery. I am of opinion that they did 


not move south until some time after the coast began 
to be frequented by Basque, French, and English fisher- 
men, and that it was the desire of obtaining iron tools 
and weapons and other European articles which in- 
duced them to do so. This period I place at the end of 
the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. 

It has been already noted that Hakluyt, 1584, was 
the first European to make use of the name Eskimo 
given by the Indians to the race. Charlevoix says 
{History of New France) that the Indian tribes nearest 
the Gulf were continually at war with the Eskimos, 
and often took them prisoners ; one such event took 
place in 1659, when a woman was captured who was 
possessed of a devil, but who became quiet and docile 
after being sprinkled with holy water. 

The French, when they began their settlements 
along the coast about 1702, found the Eskimos in 
considerable numbers in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 
even as far west as Anticosti. Tradition tells of a 
series of battles between the Montagnais, assisted by 
the French, and the Eskimos, in which the Eskimos 
were continually defeated and driven back to the 
Atlantic coast. Pointe des Monts is said to have 
been the theatre of one of these fights, and Old Fort 
Bridge another. Quite recently evidences of battle 
have been found at the latter locality, in the shape 
of broken weapons and bullets of antique mould. The 
best authenicated tradition is that about the year 1640 
the Montaignais, armed by the French, attacked the 
Eskimos, who were encamped at Eskimo Island in St. 
Paul's Bay, and slew about a thousand of them. The 
remnant, estimated at two thousand, fled to the east- 
ward, but waged incessant warfare with the Indians 
and early French settlers on the coast. The last fight 


of importance is said to have taken place at Battle 
Harbour a few years before the English conquest of 
Canada, and a certain spot there is still pointed out as 
the burying-ground of those who fell in the encounter.^ 

The numbers reported to have been slain in these 
encounters are no doubt greatly exaggerated, and it 
seems improbable that anything in the way of a pitched 
battle could have taken place at all, as such a direct 
method of warfare was entirely contrary to the practice 
of either the Indians or Eskimos. 

While such are the traditions of continual battles, 
I have been unable to find authentic support for 
them in any accounts of Labrador. Charlevoix tells 
of the enmity between the Indian and Eskimo races, 
and in a previous chapter, " The French Occupation 
of Labrador," may be found further tales of general 
hostilities, but nowhere is there an account of anything 
which can be termed a battle. 

This racial enmity was not confined to the eastern 
seaboard. When Hearn made his famous journey to 
the Coppermine River he was accompanied by Indian 
guides, who, as they approached the mouth of the river, 
were continually on the look-out for Eskimos, and 
having unfortunately discovered a small family, attacked 
and killed them in a most ferocious manner, in spite of 
all Hearn could do to prevent them. 

No serious disturbance is known to have taken place 
after the arrival of the Moravians on the coast. In 
1855-60 the Indians suffered terribly from hunger, and 

^ It has been supposed that Battle Harbour obtained its name from 
this occurrence, but in reahty the name is found on many maps as 
"Batal" two hundred years before the fight is said to have taken place. 
The meaning of the word is quite clear, being the Portuguese word for a 
boat or canoe. On the Viegas map, 1534, a Golf du Batel is marked in 
the neighbourhood of Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. 


many parties of them were found and brought by the 
Eskimos to the Mission Stations, and there supported 
on the best they could supply. On another occa- 
sion the Indians were able to reciprocate by rescuing 
a band of Eskimos who had gone into the interior to 
the salmon and trout pools, but being unsuccessful, 
were dying of starvation when found by the Indians. 

Modern travellers, who have met the Eskimos in 
their primitive state, unite in attributing to them the 
most amiable and good-natured dispositions. But occa- 
sionally tribes have been met with who displayed as 
much fierceness and truculency as did those of Labra- 
dor in the earlier days. The reason given for the 
exceptional character of these tribes was that they had 
been subject to continual attacks from the Indians, and 
therefore viewed all outsiders with suspicion and hatred. 
This excuse can possibly be offered for the Labrador 
Eskimos with equal force. The latest traveller to meet 
them in their unsophisticated condition is Capt. Roald 
Amundsen, during the first famous voyage through the 
North-West Passage, just accomplished. He expressed 
his firm conviction that the Eskimos, living absolutely 
isolated from civilization of any kind, were undoubtedly 
the happiest, healthiest, most honourable, and most 
contented, and concludes his account of the primitive 
Nechili tribe by sincerely wishing that civilization 
might never reach them. 

Capt. W. Coats, who made many voyages to Hudson's 
Bay between the years 1727 and 1751, is a strong 
apologist for the Eskimos. He says : — 

" I do assert that these people are not near so savage 
as is represented by our earlier voyagers, and that their 
confidence is in their innocence, not in numbers . . . 
a docile, inoffensive, good-natured, humane people." 


He considered it unpardonable for the Hudson Bay- 
Company not to have attempted their conversion and 
civilization. He said they were bold, hardy, and un- 
daunted, living in affluence and plenty, " and would not 
change their fat dabbs for all the luxuries of the East 
. . . they look on us with more compassion than we do 
them ... in these is such a serenity and camposedness 
on every occasion {7iot but they are veiy fond of iron), 
that I have often beheld them with great admira- 
tion." The veiled allusion to their thievish habits, in 
parenthesis, is very quaint. 

It is difficult, therefore, to theorize upon this matter, 
and it seems safer to conclude that their conduct de- 
pended largely upon the treatment they received. 

One thing only seems certain, that up to the time 
of the English occupation, the Eskimos were the terror 
of the Straits of Belle Isle and southern Labrador, and 
largely interfered with the prosecution of the fishery on 
that coast. The story of their civilization and con- 
version to Christianity will be told later. 

No trustworthy evidence is obtainable as to the 
number of Eskimos in Labrador when it was taken 
possession of by the English. The Moravian Mission- 
aries estimated their numbers at 3000 when they began 
their work in 1763. Lieut. Curtis, who visited the 
Moravian settlements in 1773, says he had been at 
some pains to obtain information on the point. His 
estimate was as follows : — 

From Straits of Belle Isle going north, 
the first tribe was known as that of 
Ogbuctoke . . . . .270 persons 

The Nonyoki . . . . . 100 „ 
,, Keewedloke .... 360 ,, 
„ Nepawktoot . . . . 70 ,, 


The Cannuklookthuock . . . 

345 persons 

,, Chuckbuck .... 

140 ,, 

„ Chuckbelwut .... 


„ Noolaktucktoke 

30 „ 

„ Nuckvak ..... 


From Nuckbak north into Ungava Bay 

210 ,, 


No doubt the estimate of the Moravian Brethren is 
more likely to be correct 



AFTER the taking of Quebec and conquest of 
1^ Canada, Labrador naturally fell into the hands 
of the English. At that time, it is said the Eskimos 
so infested the Straits of Belle Isle that it was not 
safe for a fishing vessel to go there alone. An organized 
band of Eskimos came each summer from the north, 
ostensibly for the purpose of trading, but they generally 
contrived to obtain very much more of the coveted 
European goods by stratagem and force than they did 
by fair means. Their plan was to creep along the coast 
endeavouring to find some unsuspecting fishermen, and 
at night or in foggy weather to make a sudden descent 
upon them, uttering the most frightful yells, in the hope 
that the fishermen would abandon their property and 
flee. Such was the terror in which they were held that 
this often had the desired effect. If, however, the 
Europeans stood firm, the Eskimos at once came for- 
ward in the most friendly way and began a barter trade ; 
but if the fishermen relaxed their vigilance for a moment 
they were attacked and murdered in the most barbarous 

One of the earliest acts of Sir Hugh Palliser after 
the transfer of Labrador to Newfoundland was to issue 
the following " Order for Establishing Communication 
with the Eskimo Savages " : — 



Order for Establisliing Communication and Trade with the 
Esqiiimaux Savages on the Coast of Labrador^ ^7^S- 

Whereas many and great advantages would arise to His 
Majesty by establishing a friendly intercourse with the Indians 
on the Coast of Labrador, and as all attempts hitherto made 
for that purpose have proved ineffectual, especially with the 
Esquimaux in the Northern Ports without the Straits of Belle 
Isle, owing in a great measure to the imprudent, treacherous 
or cruel conduct of some people v/ho have resorted to that 
Coast, by plundering and killing several of them, from which 
they have entertained an opinion of our dispositions and 
intentions being the same towards them as theirs is towards 
us, that is to circumvent and kill them. And whereas such 
wicked practices are most contrary to His Majesty's senti- 
ments of humanity, to his endeavours to induce them to trade 
with his subjects in conformity to these His Majesty's senti- 
ments and Commands. I hereby strictly forbid such wicked 
practices for the future and declare that all such as are found 
offending herein shall be punished with the utmost severity of 
the law. 

And Whereas I am endeavouring to establish a friendly 
communication betw^een His Majesty's subjects and the said 
natives on the Coast of Labrador, and to remove these pre- 
judices that have hitherto proved obstacles to it. I have 
invited Interpreters and Missionaries to go amongst them to 
instruct them in the principles of religion, to improve their 
minds, and remove their prejudices against us. I hereby 
strictly enjoin and require all His Majesty's subjects who 
meet with any of the said Indians to treat them in a most 
civil and friendly manner and in all their dealings with them 
not to take any effects from them without satisfying them for 
the same, not to impose on their ignorance or necessities, 
not to foment or encourage quarrels, discord or animosities 
amongst them. 


And above all things not to supply them with strong liquor, 
which at present the Northern Esquimaux have an aversion 
to, but by all fair, just and gentle means, to encourage and 
invite them to come with their commodities to trade with 
His Majesty's subjects and to be particular kind to such of 
them as may produce copy of this which is to serve as a 
certificate of His Majesty having taken them under his pro- 
tection. And that I have in His Majesty's name assured 
them that they may safely trade with all his subjects without 
danger of being hurt or illtreated. And I hereby require and 
direct all His Majesty's subjects to pay the strictest regard 
thereto, at the same time recommending it to both parties to 
act with the utmost caution for their own security, till by 
frequent communication perfect confidence may be established 
between them. 

Given under my hand, 8th April, 1765, 

Hugh Palliser. 

By Command of His Excellency, 
John Horsnaill. 

Sir Hugh went to Chateau Bay himself in his ship, 
the Guernsey, in order to open the friendly relations 
with the natives, which he advocated. As an example 
of " the state of nerves " v/hich the Eskimos had con- 
trived to produce in all who visited Labrador at that 
time, witness the following anecdote. It is related by 
Sir Joseph Banks, the great traveller and naturalist, 
in the manuscript journal of his visit to Newfoundland 
and Labrador in 1766, which has never yet been pub- 
lished. It is an amusing commentary on Sir Hugh's 
proclamation published above : — 

"In August, 1765, as Commodore Palliser in the 
Guernsey, a 50-gun ship, lay in this harbour (Chateau) 
expecting the Indians, one dark night in a thick fog. 


the ship's company were alarmed by a noise they had 
never heard before. Everyone awake conjectured what 
it could possibly be. It came nearer and nearer, grew 
louder and louder ; the First Lieutenant was called up. 
He was the only man in the ship who had ever seen an 
Eskimo. Immediately he heard the noise he declared 
he remembered it well. It was the war-whoop of the 
Eskimo, who were certainly coming in their canoes to 
board the ship and cut all their throats. The com- 
modore was acquainted ; up he bundled upon deck, 
ordered the ship to be cleared for action, all hands to 
the great guns, arms in the tops, everything in as good 
order as if a French man-of-war of equal force was 
within half a mile bearing down upon them. The 
Niger, which lay at some distance from them, was 
hailed, and told the Indians were coming, — when the 
enemy appeared in the shape of a flock of Whobbies 
or Loons, (a species of goose), swimming and flying 
about the harbour, which from the darkness of the 
night they had not before seen. All hands were then 
sent down to sleep again, and no more thought of the 
Indians till the Niger s people came on board next day, 
who will probably never forget that their companions 
cleared ship and turned up all hands to a flock of 

Palliser succeeded nevertheless in getting upon very 
friendly terms with four or five hundred Eskimos, and 
in his Regulations for the Labrador Fishery, issued on 
August 25th, 1765, he gives particular directions for the 
conduct of the fishermen towards them. The Fishing 
Admirals were enjoined " to prevent anything being 
done to break the peace I have made with the Carolit 
or Eskimo savages on the 21st inst., who have promised 
to live in friendship with us by night and by day so 

ReJ^rodiiced by kind permissioti of the Lords Ccminissioners of the Adjiiiralty 

Facing p. 174 


long as we forebare to do them any harm." The 
privilege of trafficking with the savages, in carefully 
prescribed manner, was one of the perquisites of the 
Fishing Admirals. But his endeavours were at once 
frustrated by the barbarous actions of the crews of 
some New England vessels, of whom he complains in 
the following letter to Sir Francis Bernard, the Governor 
of Boston : — 

"St. John's, 

''August 1st, iy66. 
" Sir, 

" The great trouble and difficulty I met with in 
keeping good order amongst the fishers in a port of 
this Government, occasioned chiefly by a number of 
disorderly people from your Province, will, I hope, 
excuse me giving you the trouble to beg you will 
permit the enclosed advertisements to be put up in the 
towns under your Government, where the vessels 
employed in the whole fishery mostly belong, which I 
apprehend will greatly facilitate my proceedings in the 
execution of the King's orders for the benefit of His 
Majesty's subjects carrying on the fisheries within this 
Government. The last year while a tribe of four or 
five hundred Eskimo savages were with me at Pitts 
Harbour, and by means of interpreters I made a peace 
with them, and sent them away extremely well satisfied 
and without the least offensive thing happening to 
them, I am well informed some New England vessels, 
contrary to the orders, went to the northward, robbed, 
plundered, and murdered some of their old men and 
women and children who they left at home, so that I 
expect some mischief will happen this year, revenge 
being their principle. 

" Hugh Palliser." 


This, by the way, is the earliest record of the New 
England vessels frequenting the coast in any numbers. 

In a letter to the Secretary of the Admiralty in 1766, 
Palliser complains that the small sloops which he had 
under his command were not fit for the work which 
they had to do, and which he thus describes : 

" To keep the French within the limits prescribed by 
treaties, and thereby prevent their rivalling us in our valu- 
able fish trade. To prevent this country becoming a mart 
for all kinds of clandestine trade between the French and 
our own colonies. To enforce the fishing laws and 
preserve peace and some degree of order amongst the 
fisheries, especially amongst the mixed multitudes now 
resorting to the new northern banks about the Straits 
of Belle Isle, composed of about 5000 of the very 
scum of the most disorderly people from the different 
colonies, disturbing each other, and conspiring to ruin 
and exclude all British adventurers from that new and 
valuable fishery. The whole number of men and ships 
employed in these parts this year amounts to about 
3500 vessels and 15000 men employed on board of 
them, which adds to the confusion, and this upon a 
coast inhabited by the most savage people in the 
world — the Eskimo. 

" All these circumstances have required the whole 
number of King's ships on the station and my utmost 
endeavours to preserve peace and prevent bloodshed, 
and to prevent the greatest mischief." 

This is a very confused letter, and it seems impossible 
that there could have been anything like that number 
of fishermen frequenting the Labrador coast at that 

It was with the greatest difficulty that Palliser could 


keep the French from poaching upon the Labrador 
and Belle Isle. In spite of warnings they continued 
to offend, even to the extent of trying to bribe the 
officers of His Majesty's ships for permission to remain. 
Palliser therefore posted up notices at Croque in 1765, 
saying that any French vessels thereafter caught 
poaching would be confiscated. 

In the eyes of Sir Hugh Palliser, the sole value of 
Newfoundland and Labrador was that they should be 
kept as a nursery for the British Navy. Granting that 
this was the end chiefly to be desired, his regulations 
were admirable. On April 13th, 1766, he addressed the 
following letter to the Admiralty, giving his views in 
full :— 

[Copy. ] April 13, 1766. 

Proposals fo7' Encom^aging the Fisheties on the Coast of 
Labradore, and for Improving that at Newfoundland} 

The following Proposals are founded on a Knowledge of The 
Valuable Fisheries, That may be carried on upon the Coast of 
Labradore ; and suggested, by taking a View of, and reflecting 
upon, a compared State of our's and the French Fisheries in 
Newfoundland, and The great Disproportion of the Advantages 
arising therefrom to each Nation respectively ; Also on a Con- 
clusion that Fisheries (Abstracted from Pecuniary Advantages) 
are of the utmost Importance to all Maritime Nations ; and 
more particularly to this. They being the greatest and most 
certain Nurseries for Seamen : Yet observing, That by Neg- 
lects, Abuses, and the want of proper Regulations, The 
Advantages, That are absolutely Necessary for the Safety of 
The State may be lost ; As is verified by the present State and 
Management of our Newfoundland Fishery, which instead of 
being a Nursery for, is the true Cause of the often experienced 

^ Additional MS S., 33,030, f. 220-225 (Brit. Mus.) 


Scarcity of Seamen, for Manning our Fleets on sudden j and 
Dangerous Occasions ; and is an Effectual Bar to all such 
Increase of Seamen as is provided for by the Laws of This and 
all Nations, relating to Fisheries. 

My Poor and Humble Opinion here offer'd for Establishing 
a JVetv British Fisheiy and towards recovering the most 
ij}tportant Advantages of an Old One, is most Humbly submitted 
to Consideration. 

I. First, as to The New One. 

If Regulations are made for the Coast of Labradore, calcu- 
lated to encourage Adventurers, from His Majesty's Dominions 
in Europe, It will, in a short Time, prove a great Source of 
Wealth and Naval Strength to This Kingdom ; But, in Order 
To secure These Advantages to the State, The Regulations, 
That may be made, should, in my Humble Opinion above all 

First, Provide against The Existence of any Pretensions ivhat- 
ever to property, or Exclusive Right or Possessions, or Monopolies, 
on that Coast ; which should be declared Publick, and Free to 
all the King's Subjects, with all proper Preferences and Advan- 
tages to Those from His Majesty's Dominions in Europe. 

And next, In Order To put a Stop to The Horrid Massacres, 
and Many Other Mischiefs committed on the poor Natives of 
that Country by Numbers of Lawless People from all Parts, 
resorting Thither; JVo Residents whatever, (as yet) should be 
permitted, durijig The Winter, and The Absence of The King's 
Ships ; except what may be particularly mefitioned in the Regji- 
lations, 'Till a farther Knowledge can be obtained concerning 
the Nature of the Country, The Indian Inhabitants, &c., &c. ; 
in Order to make such farther Regulations, as may hereafter be 
judged best for The Benefit of The Fisheries, and The Trade 
of His Majesty's Subjects. 

That, To encourage Adventurers To begin The Fishery in a 
proper way, a Bounty be Immediately offer'd to British Ships 
resorting Thither, directly from His Majesty's Dominions in 
Europe, properly Equipt for both The Whale and Cod Fishery ; 


Such a Bounty to depend o?t the Number of Men actually going 
mi t from, and returning directly to His MajestVs Dominions in 
Europe, with a Proportion of Neiv Men, (viz.) Every Fifth 
Mati to be a New or Green Man, (That is to \ say) Not a 
Seaman, or having ever been at Sea before ; with such other 
Restrictions, and Conditions, as may Effectually guard against 
Abuses, and fully answer The Main Objects of bringing Home 
and Increasing Seamen. 

If Part of This Bounty was paid, on The Ship's Sailing, T^ri-/ 
giving proper Security for performing IVie Conditions prescribed 
for the Voyage, as is The Practice in France, It would send 
out great Numbers of New Adventurers and Industrious 
Fishermen, Independent of Rich Merchants ; and This will 
prevent The Fishery being a Monopoly to a Few. 

Such a Bounty would produce to the Nation, all the Advan- 
tages proposed, by That now given to The Greenland Ships, 
but in a far greater Degree, both as to The Number of The Men 
to be employ'd, and thereby secured in constant Readiness for 
Defence of The State, as by The great Profits That will arise 
from the Labour of such Increased Number of Men; For the 
Bounty now paid, on an Average of The Three last Years to The 
Greenland Ships, is not less than ,-/,'26,oco p' An., for not 
more than 1800 Men, employ'd | Therein; which amounts to 
1411. 8s. od. p"^ Man. If a Bounty is given, as before 
proposed, at ^Q-^ ^ Head, which, I think, would be proper To 
begin with; when It amounts to That Sum, It will provide 
8666 Men in Constant Readiness for Manning our Fleets, 
besides a Yearly Increase of 1,733 such Men. 

Whatever Bounty is at first given to This Fishery, in a few 
Years, may be lessen'd, after It is once set a Foot ; and That 
The Block-Houses, hereafter proposed, are fnish'd upo7i That 

It must be observed. That the two Principal Branches of 
this Fishery, are for Whales and Cod, The others for Seals and 
Salmon ; Also the Ifidian Truck are very hiconsiderable Objects, 
co?npared with the two first ; Therefore The Regulations with 


Respect to Them should consider- them only as Articles to be 
bestowed as Rewards to the most Adventurotis and Industrious 
in the other two. This seems proper for raising a Useful Spirit 
of Emulation, and is what I studied to do by My Regulations 
for That Coast, the last year, by granting certain Priviledges 
respecting those Articles to \ the V\ 2'^ ajid j'^ arriving Ships in 
each port from Europe; For It must also be observed, That 
the Ports that admit of proper Situations for Sea!i?ig, or Rivers 
for Salmon^ or Places resorted to by Indians, are but few. 

As a farther Encouragement, and Security, to British 
Adventurers upon That Coast as well during the Fishing 
Season, as for such Winters Crews, as by the Regulations to 
be made, They may be permitted to leave, I would propose ; 

That the Coast be divided into Three Districts^ viz. The 
North, The South, and The West, Each containing about 100 
Leagues of Sea Coast ; That a King's Ship be stationed on 
Each, during the Fishing Season, as well for Protection of The 
Fishery, as for regulating Disputes and Disorders amongst the 
Fishers ; That at so?ne of the Principal Ports, in each District, 
be e?'ected a Strong Block-House, for the Security of such 
lVi?iters Creivs, and of the Boats, &'c'^, left on the Coast by the 
Fishers ; such Block-Houses to be in such Situations, as may 
be found best for These Purposes. This will also be Estab- 
lishing the Possessory Right to the whole Country. 

The Block-Houses here proposed are of a New Construction, 
far stronger than any other hitherto used ; affording double the 
Defence and Conveniencies of any other hitherto constructed 
of the same Dimensions, yet not more Expensive. 

Besides, the Bounty above proposed, for setting on Foot the 
New Whale and Cod Fishery on the Labradore Coast, If a 
Bounty was to be given for a few Years only to all Ships bring- 
ing Home not less thaii 21 Alen, directly from the Fisheries of 
Newfoundland, at the Rate of jO shillings a Head, That being 
the present Price of a Man's Passage Home, It would prove 
a great Encouragement to the Trade, greatly contribute to 
restore the Ships Fishery there, prevent our men running to 


America, lessen the Number of Residents in Newfoundland, 
draw from thence many thousands of Men who remain there 
only for Want of the Means of returning ; And this, together 
with what may be expected from The Labradore Fishery, will 
soon provide such a Number of Men always at Hand in This 
Country for Manning our Fleets, as would be in effect a 
Register'd Marine Guard for | Security of the Nation against 
all sudden Dangers, without distressing other Branches of 
Trade, and prove a Real Nursery for Seamen. 

Scheme for Executing what is here proposed — For Estab- 
lishing the Block-Houses. 

The Commanders of the King's Ships on that Coast to be 
directed, this Year to look out for and make Report of Places 
within their Districts fit for such Posts ; Each of the Stationed 
Ships, the next Year, to carry out all Materials, That can't be 
had There, with proper Workmen for Erecting one of These 
Block-Houses in Their Respective Districts, and this Method to 
be Observed Yearly, till as many are Erected, as may be 
thought necessary. 

I have visited and examined York or Chateaux Bay, with 
all its contained Harbours ; A^id as This will always be the 
principal Port on that Coast, If I am empowered, I will under- 
take myself to see One of these Useful Block-Houses finished at 
that Place this Year ; This will be an Immediate Encourage- 
me?it to The Adventurers, and Establish the Possessory Right 
to the Country at a Place in the Center of the whole Coast. 

I would propose to leave ift these Block-Houses, either a Sea 
Officer with a Party of Seamen, or a Marine Officer ivith the 
like Number of Marines, belongifig to the Stationed Ship, (or a 
Detachment from the Garrison at St. John's) such Officers and 
Men to be relieved Every Year. 

6 or 7 Men in each or at the Most lo Men, Officer included, 
fully sufficient. The Officer during this Temporary Residence 
vested with the Power of a Justice of Peace. 

Such Part of These Block-Houses, as are to be of Wood, 
may either be framed and prepared here, carried out, and 


Immediately set up there, or a proper Number of Workmen 
may be sent out in Each Frigate, and Build them with the 
Timber there, carrying such other Materials as may be wanted ; 
Either of these ways I apprehend the Expence will not be 
great, may be exactly Estimated, and the Precise Time of their 
Execution ascertained. 

If They are to be wholly of Stone, The Expence, I appre- 
hend, will be considerable ; Besides the Uncertainty of meet- 
ing proper Stone there. But This may be better Judged of 
hereafter, I would therefore recommend that One Block- 
House on the afore-mentioned Plan, this Year, be first erected 
of Wood, at York Bay, in case of a Disappointment of 

Annex'd is a Sketch of the Block-Houses here proposed 
with the Engineers Estimates. 

It will greatly facilitate the Establishment of the Fisheries, 
and procure a safe and Peaceable Access for His Majesty's 
Subjects to the Coast of Labradore, If the Brethren of The 
Unitas Fratrum are encouraged to settle amongst the Indians, 
as Missionaries, (which they are very Solicitous to do) I would 
therefore propose to grant them any Priviledges, That may not 
be inconsistent with the Prosperity, and Freedom of the 
Fisheries ; and to give them one of the afore-mentioned Block- 
Houses to themselves to live in, at any Place they might pitch 
lip on. 

The French now give a great Bounty to Their Newfound- 
land Fishery ; Their particular Regulations I have not been 
able to get : But the Object thereof is, To secure the Return 
of Their Men to France, with a certain Yearly Increase of 
such Men; From the best Account I have been able to get. 
The Bounty which their Merchants actually received, the last 
year, amounted to between 3 and 4 Poiinds p'' majt upon 
13,362 Me7i, which they had employ'' d the last Year. 

Now, If the Court of France finds Her Account in Paying 
40 or 50 Thousand Pounds p' An. for the Return of 13,362 
Men from Her Fisheries, | with a Yearly Increase of One in 


Every Five on that Number, It becomes a Matter of Considera- 
tion, Wiiether an Equal Sum would not be well laid out by 
Britain, for providing Double that Number, To give us the 
Superiority over France in that Important Article of Men, 
fit for, and always ready to man our Fleet, which we are now 
absolutely robb'd of by the present Method of the Fisheries 
being carried on. The men remaining There ; Therefore never 
to be had for that Service ; Nor have we such Yearly Increase 
as France has ; But on the Contrary, a Loss of great Numbers 
That yearly run to America. 

Hugh Palliser. 

April 13. 1766. 

[Endorsed :] Proposals for Encouraging 
The Fisheries on the Coast 
of Labrador, and for Improv- 
ing That at Newfoundland. 

R. from Comm'^ Palliser on 
his Attendance at the Adm'^ 
Board, The 14 April 1766. 

Sir Hugh energetically endeavoured to carry out these 
propositions, and was particularly harsh in his treatment 
of w^ould-be settlers. 

In his evidence before a Committee of the House of 
Commons in 1794, he boasted there were three thousand 
men less in the colony of Newfoundland at the end of 
his term of office than there were at the beginning. 
Thus carrying out in full Lord North's elegant dictum 
"that whatever the would-be colonists wished raw 
was to be given to them roasted, and whatever they 
wished roasted was to be given to them raw." But in 
spite of all hindrances the settlement of the country 

While discouraging any permanent settlement in the 


colonies, Palliser was full of consideration for the 
fishermen, especially for those employed in that branch 
of the fishery carried on by vessels sailing every year 
from Great Britain known as the "Ship Fishery." When 
he returned to England he became a member of the 
House of Commons, and introduced and pushed through 
the House a Bill known commonly as Palliser's Act 
(15 George HI), for the encouragement of the Ship 
Fishery by bounties, and the betterment of the fisher- 
men. This Act was very unpopular with the merchants 
interested in the fishery, and is said nearly to have 
ruined the industry it was intended to encourage. One 
of its clauses enacted that advances made by the 
merchants to the fishermen were only good to the 
extent of one-half of the men's wages. The position 
of the unfortunate servants had up to that time been 
pitiable. They were kept almost in a state of slavery, 
poorly paid, badly treated, and encouraged to spend 
their hardly earned wages in drink and unnecessaries. 
In the same House of Commons Report which is quoted 
above, one witness states that " rum is a material neces- 
sary of life in Newfoundland." The duty was three- 
pence per gallon only, so that it could be freely indulged 
in, with what results may be easily imagined. The 
following is a characteristic servant's account which 
was submitted at this enquiry : — 






15th Oct. 


I quart of rum 



10 lbs. tobacco . 


17th „ 

2 cotton shirts 


I quart rum 



30th „ 

I „ brandy 



12 th Nov. 

I „ rum 







s. d. 

12 th Nov. 


I pair shoes .... 



1 gallon rum . 

2 6 


I quart rum 

I 3 

20th „ 


I 55 55 

I 3 

25th „ 


I 5, 55 I lb. s 


2 3 

29th „ 


I 55 55 

I 3 

2nd Dec. 


^ 55 55 

^- 3 

7th „ 


^ 55 55 

I 3 

8th „ 


^ 55 55 

I 3 

9th „ 


I 55 55 

I 3 

17th „ 


I lb. tea . 

5 ° 


I quart rum 


I 3 

iSth „ 


'^ 55 55 

I 3 

2ISt „ 


'f 55 55 

I 3 

24th „ 


2 quarts ,, 

2 6 

26th „ 


I lb. sugar 



4th Jan. 


I quart rum 

I 3 


I 55 55 

I 3 

7th „ 


-'^ 55 5) 

I 3 


I lb. pepper 

5 ° 

8th May 


I yard half ribbon 


loth „ 


I quart molasses 


nth „ 


I „ brandy 

I 3 

i8th „ 


I „ molasses 


24th „ 


I „ brandy 

I 3 

2nd June 


h gallon gin 

2 6 


I quart molasses 


loth „ 


2 quarts brandy 

2 6 

i6th „ 


I quart „ 

I 3 


I quart molasses 

I 3 

30th „ 


I 55 55 

I 3 


your washing . 



your doctoring 



your hospital , 

2 6 


neglect of duty and upholding 
and encouraging of two men 

who ran away in my debt 







£ s. d. 

By his summer's wages . . . . . 26 o o 
Balance due William Collins . . . .103 

£^1 o 3 

Account as settled by Judgement of the Court. 

Wages agreed for ..... . £2^ 

By the 14 Sec. 31st Cap. 15, George III, No em- 
ployer is to advance to his servant in money 
liquor or goods more than half the amount 
of his wages . . . . . . -13 

Due Thomas Leaman . . £1^) 

which William Collins is to pay immediately or 
he will be prosecuted for it, and for the penalty 
of the Act, in the Court of Session. 

There can be no doubt that Palliser did much to 
mitigate the hard lot of the fishermen, however harsh 
he may have been to the settlers.^ 

It will be seen later that the endeavours of Palliser 
and his successors to carry out on the Labrador the 
Fishery regulations of Newfoundland occasioned such 
opposition from certain grantees of fishing posts on 
the coast, that the whole Labrador was transferred to 
the jurisdiction of Quebec. 

Governor Carleton of Quebec addressed two letters 
to him in 1766 and 1767, requesting that certain 
Canadians be permitted to retain fishing posts occu- 
pied by them. 

^ Palliser's Act did not carry out in full the intentions expressed in his 
"Memorandum." No bounty was offered for codfish caught on the 
Labrador coast. To be entitled to the bounty it was provided that 
codfish must be caught on the banks and cured on the Newfoundland 
coast. But l)y another clause bounties were offered to the first five ships 
arriving from the whale fishery, with at least one whale, taken in the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence or on the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland. 


Sir Hugh replied refusing this request, and saying that 
it was the intention of the King to reserve the Labrador 
fishery for the adventurers from Great Britain. 

He, however, naturally received the hearty support 
of the Ship Fishers from England, who in 1767 
addressed the following memorial to him : — 

Memorial from the Merchants Adventurers in 
Labrador, iy6y 


We the undersigned being Adventurers in the Fishery from 
Britain to the Coast of Labrador, beg leave to represent to 
Your Excellency that We and a great many others are deter- 
mined to pursue the Ship Fishery with spirit to this Coast, 
since by your measures it is made manifest that we may 
depend on being supported therein under the Rules and 
Regulations prescribed by the Statute of the loth and nth 
of William III and that the Government will provide a 
sufficient security for the Persons, Ships, Effects and Shipping 
Works of the Adventurers, as well from the several nations 
of Savages of the country, as from the depredations, outrages 
and encroachments which we have been exposed to, from the 
many lawless crews resorting hither from the different planta- 
tions and elsewhere. 

And as We are satisfied your measures are proper for pre- 
serving good order and for the public benefit, without giving 
undue preference to Individuals, We beg leave to offer to 
your consideration our Opinion that it will be a great en- 
couragement to the Ship Fishery, if such fishing ships as 
may first make a new place and fishing conveniences thereon 
can be only allowed to enjoy the same to their own use and 
benefit, so long as they continue to occupy and use the same 
with British fishing ships yearly, but no longer ; a Declaration 
of your sentiments upon this head, and that you think such 
a custom will be conformable to the intention of the said 


Statute for extending and improving the fishery, will, we know, 
determine great numbers immediately to become ship adven- 
turers to this Coast from Britain. 

On this occasion We also beg leave to return our thanks 
for the advantages We have already experienced from the 
pains the King's Officers upon this Coast under Your 
Excellency's directions, have taken for putting a stop to the 
great disorders that have of late years been committed on 
this Coast by lawless crews from the Colonies, by which 
great advantages to the nation have been lost, the Coast 
kept in a state of War, and the utmost confusion reigned 
amongst the many different people from the different Colonies, 
all disputing, contending and obstructing each other, and ye 
whole conspiring to exclude and ruin Adventurers from Britain. 

We beg the continuance of your measures for supporting 
us in our rights and privileges as Ship Fishers from Britain, 
arriving yearly Equipped and Manned as the aforementioned 
Statute directs, against all obstructions and interlopers, and 
particularly that care may be taken for preserving the woods 
for the uses of the Fishery, which is already very scarce, 
many tracts of many leagues each having been already fired 
and destroyed by the aforementioned disorderly crews, and 
above all, We hope that you will not allow of any Patents 
or Grants from the Governors of any of the Plantations, for 
any persons whatever to hold exclusively any particular 
districts or Harbours on this Coast, or any branches of the 
Fishery thereon, such as we have been informed the Governor 
of Quebec has made, since such a practice would prove not 
only the immediate ruin of us, but of ye whole Fishery in 

Signed by all the Adventurers Ship Masters 
AND Agents upon the Coast this year. 

From a marked similarity in portions of the language 
of the memorial to the letter written by Sir Hugh to 
the Admiralty previously quoted, the suspicion naturally 


arises that the memorial was, in part at least, inspired. 
Sir Hugh replied to this memorial as follows : — 

Extract from Governor'' s Reply to MercJimits' Memorial^ 


All inhabitants, settlements and possessions upon this Coast 
of Labrador between the limits of the Government of Quebec 
and the limits of the Hudson Bay Companies Charter are 
forbid by His Majesty's Proclamation of the 7th October, 
1763 and all persons who had then made any settlements 
here under pretended grants from any of the Governors of the 
Colonies, or any other pretence are by the said Proclamation 
warned to withdraw and quit the same, therefore ; and for 
better securing the Ship Fishers' Works from being destroyed 
in their absence, no person can be permitted to stay on this 
Coast in the winter till His Majesty's farther pleasure shall be 
known, except ye masters of three of the first arriving fishing 
ships at or within the limits of each principal Harbour here- 
after named, may choose to leave each a crew of twelve men 
(who agree to stay) and no more for the winter sealing voyage, 
etc., the foreman or shippers of such privileged crews to be 
proven trusty men, and to be furnished with a certificate from 
the Master of the fishing ship to which they belong, who is to 
be answerable for the conduct of his crew so left, and to make 
good any damages they may commit to the fishing works. 
The Masters of the three first arriving ships who intend to use 
this privilege must in future declare it in writing to the fishing 
Admiral at each principal port on or before the first day of 
August each year ; this is allowing full as many crews as there 
are Posts within the Umits of each Port fit for the Seal Fishery, 
and this reference thereof given to the first arrivers is intended 
as a reasonable and useful reward and encouragement to the 
most adventurous and industrious Ship Fishers, besides this 
limitation of the number of winterers, is absolutely necessary 
for preventing constant quarrels about these sealing Posts, and 


likewise many other quarrels, outrages, disorders and even 
frequent shocking murthers, that yearly happen amongst 
numbers of such people staying in this desert country, like- 
wise to prevent quarrels, murthers and acts of violence against 
ye natives of ye country by which they will be provoked to be 
always our enemies and to obstruct ye fishery. 

And as a further encouragement to ye ship adventurers on 
this Coast, a strong blockhouse is erected in Pitt's Harbour, 
with an officer and a guard established there under ye pro- 
tection of which they may leave any number of boats, craft, 
and fishing utensils in perfect security during ye winter ; and 
it is intended to erect others such for ye same purpose at 
other convenient places along ye Coast. On this footing ye 
fisheries on this Coast must remain, till ye King may please 
to order it otherwise. 

Given under my hand in Pitt's Harbour, Labrador, loth 
August, 1767. 

Hugh Palliser. 

By Order of His Excellency, 
John Horsnaill. 

The fort here alluded to was known as York Fort, 
and was planned by Capt. Dobbieg and Lieut. Bossett, 
Engineers at St. John's. Sir Hugh sent Lieut, Beardsley 
in the We//s cutter to report on the requirements for 
building the fort, and as the season was then too far 
advanced for it to be undertaken, he was directed to 
build a " defencible house." Sir Thos. Adams, in 
H.M.S. Niger, was directed to assist him. Sir Joseph 
Bank's journal contains the following entry : — 

" September 7th. At last York Fort was finished, 
which everybody agrees was a very surprising piece of 
work to have finished in the time it was almost entire!}^ 
by the ship's company. Lieut. Waters has taken up 
his residence there, and I have spared him the only 

■ .?■ 



\>y\ \ 


Facing p. 190 


thermometer I have left. He promises to give me an 
account of the weather next year." 

It does not seem possible that the elaborate fort 
originally planned could have been built in such a short 
time, and I therefore conclude York Fort was only 
a " defencible house." 

Each successive officer commanding York Fort was 
instructed to protect the fishermen, to apprehend and to 
bring to trial any irregular crews from the colonies 
whose misdeeds had been such a continual source of 
trouble, to cultivate friendly relations with the Eskimos, 
but to take every precaution against being surprised by 
those treacherous savages, and to prevent the French 
from encroaching on the Labrador fishing grounds. 
The garrison were strictly forbidden to interest them- 
selves in the fishery or any commercial enterprise. 

York Fort, however, did not prove to be of much 
benefit or protection. Admiral Duff wrote in 1775 to 
Governor Carleton, of Quebec, that he had procured the 
sentiments and opinion of the merchants and traders 
there on the matter, and they had stated that the gar- 
rison at York Fort was of no material benefit to the 
winter residents, and he had consequently given orders 
for it to be withdrawn. 

The ordinance and stores were taken to St. John's 
and given in charge of the ordinance storekeeper, Mr. 
Edward White, who rendered an account of them to 
Governor Montague. 

Hatton and Harvey in their history of Newfoundland 
say that York Fort was captured by an American 
Privateer in 1786 (see 1778), and again by the French 
under Admiral Richery, in 1796. 

On the latter occasion the English are said to have 
made a gallant defence and then to have retired after 


having destroyed their stores. This account has been 
repeated by Packard and other recent writers about 

There seems to be no foundation for either story in 
fact. To begin with, York Fort was not garrisoned in 
1778, and we can be sure if it had been would have 
been carefully avoided by that " lying rascal Grimes," as 
George Cartwright calls him, in the American Privateer, 
Minerva. Attacking forts was not his line of business. 
Cartwright gives a full account of his doings on the 
coast, and says that Grimes went into Temple Bay and 
took three vessels from Noble and Pinson, but does not 
mention the taking of York Fort. 

In 1780 guns and ammunition were sent from St. 
John's for the defence of Spear Harbour, Labrador. 
Admiral Richery's descent upon the coast in 1796 was 
not a much greater feat of arms than that of Grimes. 
He took and destroyed the little fishing village of Bay 
Bulls, hovered off St. John's for a few days, but think- 
ing discretion the better part of valour sailed to the 
Straits of Belle Isle, where he wrought considerable 
havoc among the fishing fleet. 

The Colonial Records for 1796 do not contain any 
account of Admiral Richery's attack on the Labrador 
fishing establishments, but in the following year Captain 
Ambrose Crofton, in H.M.S. Pluto, was sent to report 
upon the state of the fishery on the Labrador, the 
Magdalene Islands, and the more remote parts of 

In a letter dated H.M.S. Pluto, Miquelon Island, 
September 17th, 1797, he reported to the Governor 
of Newfoundland as follows : — 

" From Croque Harbour I proceeded to Temple Bay, 
Labrador, and having been informed that the French 


[meaning Admiral Richery's squadron], continued at 
Temple Bay two days after it was abandoned by the 
inhabitants, I thought it proper to have the British 
Colours hoisted in form, and gave the Merchants Agent 
a written document similar to the enclosed : — 

" Whereas three ships of war belonging to the 
French Republic supposed to be part of a squadron 
under the Orders of Admiral Richery— did in the month 
of September last, Attack, Land and Destroy by Fire 
and otherwise the British settlement in the Harbour of 
Temple Bay, on the Coast of Labrador — also the two 
Forts on Temple Point which were erected by the 
Merchants for the defence of said Harbour, 

"Therefore to prevent the French Republic having any 
claim to the settlement in Temple Bay or to any other 
part of the Coast of Labrador, 

Know all men by these presents that I, Ambrose 
Crofton, Esq., Commander of His Majesty's Ship Pluto, 
do publicly take possession of the said settlement 
and Harbour of Temple Bay — likewise the Coast of 
Labrador, in such manner to all intents and purposes 
as the said Coast of Labrador was considered to belong 
to the Crown of Great Britain previous to the arrival of 
the French ships of war here last September. 

And I further Certify that I have done this in pursu- 
ance of Orders from the Hon'ble William Waldegrave, 
Governor of the Island of Newfoundland and its De- 
pendencies, Vice Admiral of the Blue, Commander-in- 
Chief of His Majesty's Ships and Vessels employed 
and to be employed at and about the Island of New- 
foundland, the Islands Magdalines and Anticosti, and 
upon the Coast of Labrador, from the River St. John's 
to the entrance of Hudson's Streights. 


" In Witness, whereof I have this day hoisted the 
Union Flag of England on a Flag Staff erected in the 
centre of the Upper Fort on Temple Point in the 
presence of the Officers and Ship's Company of His 
Majesty's Ship Pluto, and principal inhabitants. 

" Given under my Hand and Seal on board His 
Majesty's Ship Pluto in Temple Bay the 21st day of 
August, 1797. "(Signed) Ambe. Crofton." 

Lieutenant Cheppelle, who was stationed on the coast 
a few years later, tells that at Lanse-a-Loop Admiral 
Richery met with some resistance from Messrs. Noble, 
Pinson and Sons who carried on the fishery there, and 
who patriotically destroyed all their stores rather than 
that they should fall into the hands of the French. 
They put in a claim for i^20,ooo to the British Govern- 
ment for the value of these stores, but did not succeed 
in getting it recognized. 

Messrs. Noble, Pinson and Sons had been fully cogni- 
zant of the danger they were in, for in 1794 they 
petitioned Sir Richard Wallace, the Governor of New- 
foundland and Admiral in Command of the Fleet, to 
allow the sloop of war Boneita, Captain Wemyss, to 
remain on the coast until October. They said that 
there Vi^ere nineteen vessels on the coast to be loaded 
with fish, oil, and salmon, ten of which belonged to 
them, and that they had been left in an entirely de- 
fenceless condition. It is therefore evident that there 
could not have been any garrison at York Fort or Temple 
Bay. But at the same date (September, 1794) Captain 
Wemyss reported to Sir John Wallace as follows : — 

" At Temple Bay there are four forts. 

" I. Fort Carlton on the top of the hill where the 


Colours are shown on a ship approaching the harbour, 
where are mounted three 4-lb. carriage guns. 

" 2. Fort Wallace at the entrance of Temple Bay, 
where there are mounted six 4-lb. and three 6-lb. 
carriage guns. 

" 3. Fort Sheffield, a store 106 ft. long, fronting 
Temple Bay, whereon are mounted eight 9-lb. and five 
4-lb. carriage guns. 

" 4. Fort Charlotte, a small store near the N.E. fishing 
stage, whereon are mounted two 6-lb. carriage guns, 

" There are no fortifications on the coast of Labrador 
but at Temple Bay." 

It does not seem possible that either of these small 
batteries could have been York Fort, which had been 
on a much more pretentious scale, nor does it appear 
that they were regularly garrisoned. 

The whale fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and 
in the Straits of Belle Isle seems to have been carried 
on at this period principally by vessels from the New 
England colonies, and was the object of much concern 
to Sir Hugh Palliser. He issued proclamations in 1765 
and in 1766 for the conduct of this fishery, and laid 
many injunctions upon the crew for their proper be- 
haviour. An abundance of whales was said to be on 
the coast in April, May, and June. From the very 
earliest days of the discovery of the new lands a 
whale fishery has been carried on in these waters, 
with short periods of intermission. The present 
whaling station at Cape Charles has a long line of 
predecessors. Sir Hugh's proclamations on the whale 
fishery were again supplemented by Governor Byron 
in 1768. 

Sir Joseph Banks tells the following interesting 
story, which bears witness to the successful whale 


fishery of a by-gone age, probably of the " right 
whale " : — 

"Just opposite to Henley Island and very near it is a 
small flat island called Eskimo Island, when last year 
in digging, an extraordinary discovery was made of an 
enormous quantity of whalebone carefully and regularly 
buried upon tiles, and so large that I have been told 
by those who saw it that at one time as much was dug 
up as, had it been sound, would have been worth 
;^20,ooo. It is by age totally decayed, so that it is 
scarcely distinguishable from birch bark, which indeed 
it has much more the appearance of than whalebone, 
dividing itself easily into liminae as thin almost as you 
can split with the edge of a knife. The outside parts 
are exactly the colour of birch bark. It is supposed 
to have been left here by Danes, who in their return 
from Greenland south about touched upon this coast 
and left several whaling crews, tempted, no doubt, by 
the large quantity of whales which pass every year 
through the Straits of Belle Isle into the Gulf of 
St. Lawrence. Here we are to suppose that the fortu- 
nate crew who had taken this immense quantity of 
bone fixed their habitation upon this island till the 
ships should return as usual. Being attacked by the 
inland Indians, they buried their bone for the greater 
security, and most probably were cut off to a man, so 
that their treasures remained untouched till chance 
directed us to them in their present decayed state." 

At this period whalebone was worth about ;^45o per 
ton, so that the quantity found was about forty-five tons, 
and would be worth to-day nearly ;^ 100,000. 

Another of Palliser's "Orders" was against the firing 
of woods. Dire pains and penalties were promised to 


all who should infringe this most important regulation. 
Would that there had always been a Palliser on the 
coast to enforce this order ! Where wood takes so long 
to grow and is of such very great importance for com- 
fort, nay, for life itself in such a cold climate, every 
possible precaution should be taken against fires. Yet 
Labrador has suffered on many occasions from the 
most disastrous fires, and recent explorers report that 
vast tracts of the inland have been swept by fire — trees, 
shrubs, and mosses all being consumed, and nothing but 
the bare rocks left. 

The so-called " dark days " which were experienced 
in Canada in 1785, and again in 18 14, and which were 
at the time thought to have been occasioned by the 
eruption of a volcano on the Labrador peninsula, have 
since been attributed, no doubt correctly, to these 
enormous conflagrations, the effects of which are still 
noticeable. The Moravian Missionaries also report 
extraordinary dark days in July, 1821. 

Two other most important works received PalHser's 
hearty support — the survey of the coast by Capt, 
James Cook and the establishing of the Moravian 
Missionaries on the Labrador. He has been wrongly 
credited with having inaugurated both of these bene- 
ficial enterprises. Capt. Cook's services for the work 
were secured by PalHser's predecessor, Sir Thomas 
Graves, and the design of the Moravian Missionaries 
to convert the Eskimos originated in their own pious 

Cook had served as master's mate in the Eagle, of 
which Palliser was captain, in 1755, and for his ex- 
cellent services was recommended by Palliser for 
promotion to the rank of master. In this capacity he 
served on the Pembroke at the taking of Quebec, and 


by his indefatigable labours made himself thoroughly- 
acquainted with the pilotage of the St. Lawrence. 
He was then appointed to the Northumberland, com- 
manded by Lord Colville, at which time he made a 
survey of Halifax Harbour. In 1762 he was present 
at the retaking of St. John's by Colonel Amherst and 
Lord Colville from the French under De Tierney. 
During the same summer he made a careful survey of 
the harbour of Carbonear and of Harbour Grace, and 
reported that ships of any size might lie there in safety. 
Sir Thos. Graves, who was then Governor of New- 
foundland, would thus have become acquainted with 
Cook and seen the excellence of his work. Lord 
Colville also wrote to the Admiralty in praise of Cook's 
survey work. In the following year, 1763, Graves wrote 
to the Board of Trade pointing out the great necessity 
for accurate charts of Newfoundland and Labrador, 
and asking that a special surveyor be appointed for 
that purpose. A few days later he wrote again, stating 
that Cook was willing to undertake the work, and on 
this recommendation Cook was immediately appointed. 
On May 2nd, 1764, the Secretary of the Navy Board 
wrote as follows to Commodore Palliser : — 

" Mr. Jas. Cook, who had been employed last yere 
surveying the Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon and 
part of the Coasts and Harbours of the Island of 
Newfoundland, being appointed by the Navy Board 
Master of H.M. Schr. Grenville at Newfoundland, and 
directed to follow your orders : I am commanded by 
my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to acquaint 
you therewith and to signify their direction to you, to 
employ the said Mr. Cook in surveying such Harbours 
and parts of the Coast, and in making fair and correct 
Charts and Draughts of the same as you shall judge 

Rcpioduccii by kind permission of tJie Loi;)'s Coin:iiissioiie7-s of the Adi/iiraiiy. 

Facing p. ic 


most necessary during the ensueing season, and as 
soon as the season for surveying be over, you are to 
direct him to repair with the Schr. to Portsmouth and 
to transmit the Charts and Draughts to their Lord- 

During the summers 1763-7 inclusive, Cook was 
engaged surveying and charting the coasts of New- 
foundland and Labrador. For nearly a century his 
charts were in use, and it is said that his work was so 
accurately done that little alteration has been made in 
them since. 

His observation of the transit of Venus, April 30th, 
1767, was made on a small island near Burgeo on the 
south coast of Newfoundland. This island is still called 
" Eclipse " Island, and the cairn of stones erected there 
by Cook still remains. The results of his observations 
were communicated to the Royal Society, and first 
brought him into the notice of that body. The acquaint- 
ance formed between Cook and Banks while at Chateau 
in 1766, no doubt occasioned that eminent naturalist to 
accompany Cook on his famous voyage around the 
world, for the purpose of "culling simples," as Dr. 
Johnson expressed it. Captain George Cartwright also 
formed part of the ship's company of the Guernsey 
during the summer of 1766. 

In 1767 Mr. Michael Lane, schoolmaster of the 
Guernsey, was appointed assistant surveyor to Cook, 
and succeeded him as master of the Grenville in 1768. 
Lane continued the work of surveying the coasts of 
Newfoundland and Labrador until 1776. The sailing 
directions which Cook and Lane gave in the first 
edition of their North American Pilot, are still repeated 
on the latest charts issued by the British Admiralty. 

One of the most interesting characters among the 


early traders to Labrador was Capt. Nicholas Darby, 
the father of the famous beauty " Perdita," Mrs. Robin- 
son. In her Memoirs, " Perdita " says her father was 
born in America and was a man of strong mind, high 
spirit, and of great personal intrepidity. There is a 
strong presumption that he was a native of Newfound- 
land. The Colonial Records for 1763 contain an entry 
stating that Nicholas Darby and others were summoned 
before the Court at St. John's for dispossessing one Walsh 
of his fishing rooms at Zelott, and were fined ;^io. A 
few days afterwards he obtained judgments against his 
dealers for debts owed him, so that he had evidently been 
conducting a business in Newfoundland for some time. 
About the same date, one Thomas Darby is mentioned 
as being agent in Harbour Grace, of Elson and Co.^ 
In 1765 Nicholas Darby is again before the Court over 
a disputed title to a fishing post. " Perdita " says she 
was born in Bristol in 1758, her parents having been 
married in 1749. They lived there in considerable 
prosperity and comfort until 1767, when a scheme was 
suggested to her father of establishing a whale fishery 
on the coast of Labrador, and of civilizing the Eskimos 
in order to employ them in the undertaking. He went 
to London and laid his plans before Lord Hillsborough, 
Sir Hugh Palliser, and other distinguished personages. 
Receiving great encouragement and promises of assist- 
ance from them, he immediately proceeded to carry out 
his scheme. He designed to place his children at school 
and take his wife with him, but she greatly dreaded the 
voyage and could not be prevailed upon to accompany 
him. This caused an estrangement to take place 

1 The descendants of Thomas Darby are still living in Newfoundland, 
but I have been unable to assertain whether he bore any relationship to 


between them, which finally resulted in a complete 

He established himself at Cape Charles at the 
entrance of the Straits of Belle Isle, and endeavoured 
to utilize the services of the Eskimos as he had 
intended. His good intentions were, however, brought 
to nought by the inhumanity of some New England 
whalers towards the Eskimos, who, not being able to 
distinguish between different parties of white men, in 
revenge treacherously attacked Darby's establishment, 
slew three of his men, and made off with his boats. 
The Eskimos were then attacked by the English and a 
regular battle ensued, in which some twenty or more 
Eskimos were slain, and four women, two boys, and 
three girls taken prisoners. One of the women, named 
Mikak, and one of the boys, named Karpik, were taken 
to England by Lieut. Lucas, (Lieut. Lucas, a petty 
officer of H.M.S. Guernsey, who had been appointed 
second in command at York Fort in 1767. He after- 
wards went into partnership with Darby, and on his 
failure joined George Cartwright). Mikak was possessed 
of considerable intelligence, and received a great deal of 
attention from prominent people in England. Lucas 
learned the language from her, and was commissioned 
to carry her back to the Labrador, where she and her 
husband Tugluvina played a very important part in the 
early relations between the Moravians and Eskimos. 

The boy Karpik was placed under the care of Jens 
Haven, the devoted Moravian missionary who had 
already made a voyage to Labrador, the chosen scene 
of his life labours. He endeavoured by the greatest 
patience and kindness to win the boy's love and convert 
him to Christianity, hoping that he might become in 
the future a means of communication with the rest of 


his race. But very shortly the unhappy lad was seized 
with small-pox and died. 

Darby lost nearly all his fortune in this enterprise, 
but nevertheless continued to visit Labrador, fishing 
and trading, for several years after. Owing to her 
father's loss of fortune, " Perdita " a few years later 
decided to go on the stage, for which she was trained 
by no less a person than David Garrick. There she 
was so unfortunate as to attract the notice of the Prince 
of Wales, and to fall a victim to that graceless libertine. 
Her genius and her engaging manners had brought her 
the friendship of many of the most celebrated men of 
the day, and her beauty was many times portrayed by 
Reynolds, Romney, Cosway, Lawrence, and other cele- 
brated painters. At the age of twenty-four she was 
seized with rheumatic fever, which left her a helpless 
cripple. She supported herself during the remaining 
years of her life by her writings, consisting chiefly of 
poems and tales. Such was the unhappy life of this 
granddaughter of Newfoundland, whose misfortunes 
were primarily caused by the failure of a whaling 
enterprise on the Labrador. 

Nicholas Darby's later history is quite interesting. 
He was given the command of a small vessel in the 
Royal Navy, and at the relief of the siege of Gibraltar 
in 178 1, fought most gallantly and was the first to reach 
the Rock. He was received and embraced by General 
Elliot, Commander of the Fortress, and praised most 
highly for his brave conduct. In some accounts of the 
siege he is spoken of as Admiral Darby, but this seems 
to have been an error. Not meeting with the reward 
from the Admiralty to which he thought he was 
entitled, he left the English service and went to Russia, 
where he was favourably received and soon obtained 


the command of a 74-gun ship. He died in 1785, and 
was mourned by " Perdita " in appropriate verse. 

Another prominent man among the early Labrador 
traders was Jeremiah Coughlan, whose head-quarters 
were at Fogo. Writing to Governor Montague in I777> 
he says that he was the first English subject to establish 
a sealing post on the Labrador, which he did in 1765 at 
Chateau, being encouraged thereto by his " good friend 
Commodore Palliser." Later, he entered into partner- 
ship with Captain George Cartwright and Lieutenant 
Lucas, but on the death of the latter the partnership 
was dissolved. Coughlan had two ships annually from 
England and employed 140 men. In his letter he 
complains that one of his servants, named Peyton, 
whom he had sent to a station sixty miles north of 
the Mealy Mountains, had tried to usurp his rights to 
the post, and prays for redress. The Governor replied 
that his jurisdiction over the coast had ceased when it 
was transferred to Quebec, but he nevertheless would 
send a naval officer to inquire into the matter. This 
officer reported in Coughlan's favour, and the offending 
Peyton was ordered to relinquish the disputed post. 

Sir Hugh Palliser introduced on the Labrador the 
same judicial processes which were in force in New- 
foundland. The captain of each vessel first arriving in 
a port became the Admiral of that port, and was 
invested with magisterial powers. The justice dis- 
pensed by these fishing admirals is the subject of many 
amusing stories in Newfoundland annals. 

Being the servants of the merchants in the trade, it 
can be easily seen that when disputes arose between 
fisherman and merchant justice was not likely to be 
evenly dispensed. 

In addition to the fishing admirals, the commanders 


of H.M, ships on the station were also given judicial 
power. At first this power seems to have been intended 
by way of appeal, but gradually it became the custom 
to hear cases originall}^ as well, especially as by the 
ignorance and inactivity of the fishing admirals their 
brand of justice fell into contempt and neglect. Chief 
Justice Reeves says : — 

" Very soon the captains of the ships took cognizance 
of contracts, and held courts in which they enquired 
into, heard, and determined all possible causes of com- 
plaints ; and with no other lights than those furnished 
by the statute of William, the instructions of the 
Governor, and the suggestions of their own good sense. 
, . . The Governor conferred on them the title of 
Surrogates, an idea taken from the Admiralty law. . . . 
The time of Surrogating was looked forward to as a 
season when all wrongs were to be redressed against all 
oppressors ; and this naval judicature was flown to by 
the poor inhabitants and planters as the only refuge 
they had from the west country merchants, who were 
always their creditors and were generally regarded as 
their oppressors." 

The first " Surrogates " for the Labrador, appointed 
by Sir Hugh in 1765 were : — 

Capt. Hamilton, of H.M. sloop Zephyr, from St. John's 
river to Cape Charles ; and 

Sir Thos. Adams, Bart, of H.M.S. Niger, from Davis 
Straits to York Hr. 

Thus was justice dispensed and order kept from 1763 
to 1774. 

The Board of Trade papers at this date contain many 
references to the new fishery on the Labrador. In 1771, 
Nicholas Darby presented a petition to the Board stating 


how great his expenses and sufferings had been in 
prosecuting a fishery on the Labrador, and prayed for 
reh'ef. Which was not granted. The next year he 
appeared with another petition again for relief, this time 
because he had been dispossessed of a fishing post by 
one Samuel Davis, and having obtained a judgment for 
£^650 in the Court of the King's Bench, had been unable 
to collect the same. But he had no better success than 
with his first petition. In 1771 John Noble, of Bristol, 
and Andrew Pinson, of Dartmouth, asked for an ex- 
clusive grant of Temple Bay and Whale Island. His 
Majesty's Commissioners were unable to come to any 
decision on the matter, owing to the claims of Canadian 

In 1773, the Canadian grantees of Sealing Posts 
presented a little bill for loss sustained by the new rules 
and regulations which were framed for the Whale and 
Cod Fisheries. 

In January of the same year appeared Geo. Cartwright, 
Esq., with a memorial describing the state of the fisheries 
and commerce on the Labrador, and complaining of 
being disturbed in his possession of a fishing post by 
Noble, and Pinson, and praying that he may be con- 
firmed in its possession. Commodore Shuldham, Sir 
Hugh Palliser, and Mr. Andrew Pinson were requested 
to appear before the Board to be examined on the above 

In February their Lordships were of opinion : — 

" That actual residence and continued possession were 
essentially necessary to the carrying on of the Seal and 
Salmon Fisheries on the Coast of Labrador. That such 
of His Majesty's subjects of Great Britain and Ireland, 
who have taken or shall hereafter take such actual 
possession in any of the rivers and bays of the Coast of 


Labrador to the north of the Straits of Belle Isle, and 
who have erected or shall hereafter erect houses and 
warehouses and have made or shall make other estab- 
lishments necessary to the carrying on of the Seal and 
Salmon Fisheries, ought to be protected in such pos- 
session, provided such persons do for the future annually 
fit out from Great Britain one or more ships to be 
employed in the Cod Fishery on the said Coast of 
Labrador, and provided also that the greatest care be 
taken, that the Proprietor or Proprietors of such fishing 
posts do not claim or occupy a greater extent of the 
coast within the said bays or rivers than shall be abso- 
lutely necessary in proportion to the number of men 
employed at the said posts." 

This recommendation was adopted, and Governor 
Shuldham issued a proclamation putting it into effect as 
soon as he arrived in Newfoundland, 

At each meeting of the Board, at this time, there was 
some discussion on the proposal to transfer the Labrador 
to the Government of Quebec, which was finally accom- 
plished by Act 14 Geo. Ill, Cap. 83, in 1774. 

The Colonial Records, 1774, contain the copy of a letter 
from Noble and Pinson to Governor Shuldham, ex- 
pressing great regret at the unexpected alteration in the 
Government of Labrador. They flatter themselves that 
the interests of the adventurers from Great Britain will 
not be overlooked, and believe that had the fisheries re- 
mained under the late regulations, there would have been 
a gi-eat increase of ships and men from Great Britain. 

When the country was transferred to the Province of 
Quebec disorder again began to reign. The Acts of 
Parliament constituting the fishing admirals magistrates, 
and appointing the naval Surrogates only applied to 
the colony of Newfoundland and its dependencies, 


and no regulations were passed in Quebec to provide 
for the government of the coast. The Governors of 
Newfoundland, who were always the admirals in com- 
mand of the North American squadron, still continued 
to supervise the Labrador. Governor Shuldham, in an 
order to the officer commanding York Fort, says, after 
stating that his authority as Governor had ceased : — 

" But it is His Majesty's Pleasure that I do, as Com- 
modore of the Ships employed for the Protection of the 
Fisheries, superintend those on the Labrador Coast as 
well as those of Newfoundland. And that I do in a 
particular manner give all possible encouragement and 
protection, as well to the Seal and Sea Cow Fisheries as 
to the Cod Fisheries carried on by the King's subjects 
from Great Britain on such parts of the Coast as are not 
claimed as private property under regular Canadian 
titles; and that I do also countenance and protect as 
much as in me lies, the Establishments formed under the 
King's authority by the Society of the Unitas Fratrum 
to the Northward of the Straits of Belle Isle. You are 
hereby required and directed to take particular care that 
His Majesty's pleasure in regard to the several particu- 
lars aforementioned be strictly complied with so far as 
is dependent on you as Commander of York Fort." 

But, as we have read, the garrison was withdrawn the 
very next year. 

Anspach, in his History of Newfoundland, is authority 
for the statement that after 1774, a superintendent of 
trade, appointed by the Commander-in-Chief of the 
Four British Provinces, resided on the Labrador. It 
has not been possible, however, to obtain any further 
testimony about this official. 

In the House of Commons report, 1793, already 


referred to several times, Chief Justice Reeves spoke as 
follows : — 

" Another point to which I beg leave to draw the 
attention of the Committee, is the present state of those 
who carry on the Fishery on the Coast of Labrador. 
Although this is not within the concession of the 
Governor of Newfoundland, yet it so happens that he 
is the only person who is in the way of knowing any- 
thing about it. The ship which is sent round the 
French limits never fails of looking in on some part of 
the Labrador Coast ; and it appears from the repre- 
sentations of the Captains who command these ships 
that there is great need of some authority to interpose, 
and see justice done between master and servant, at 
least as much need as there was in Newfoundland. 
The employments and relations of persons are the 
same ; the abuses and grievances are the same ; 
amongst these is the old one of keeping servants on the 
coast from year to year ; all which is more uniform and 
insurmountable, in proportion as the merchants are few, 
and can therefore combine to keep all their people in a 
more absolute state of dependence. 

"The coast of Labrador is under the Government of 
Canada ; but the influence it feels from a centre so far 
removed is very small ; in truth there is no government 
whatsoever on the Coast of Labrador, as I am informed 
by those who have been there. It is very much to be 
wished that some plan be devised for affording to 
that deserted coast something like the effect of civil 

This state of anarchy continued until 1809, when the 
Labrador was again attached to the Government of 


The officer in command of H.M. sloop Otter, stationed 
on the Labrador coast in 1772-3, was Lieutenant Roger 
Curtis, who afterwards saw considerable service and rose 
to the rank of Admiral. 

He took great interest in his command, and made 
two lengthy reports upon the country, its inhabitants, 
fisheries, and prospects. 

Like the Norsemen, he was first struck by the enor- 
mous quantity of stones, " many of them of prodigious 
size," which were scattered everywhere over the country. 
He said that there was no part of the British Dominion 
so little known as Labrador, " where avarice has but 
little to feed upon," and gave a most depressing account 
of the country, frequently using such terms as " frightful 
mountains," " unfruitful valleys," " blighted shrubs," 
" stunted trees," " wretched inhabitants," and " miserable 

He drew a chart of the coast as far north as 59° 10", 
and greatly prided himself upon its correctness, which 
he said far exceeded any previous production. As a 
matter of fact it is very crude and incorrect. 

He thought it not surprising that such a barren 
country was so sparsely inhabited, and was much struck 
by the irony of the fact that the comparatively very few 
tribes that lived there should be so set upon extermina- 
ting each other. 

He gave a full account of the Eskimos and their 
habits, and pleaded earnestly for a more enlightened 
and humane treatment of them. His strictures upon 
the conduct of the crews of the New England vessels 
frequenting the coast are very severe, and will be dealt 
with more fully later on in this volume. 

He formed a very high opinion of the value of the fish- 
eries, which were certain to become of great importance, 


"the Newfoundland waters being rapidly depleted of 
fish " ! He was at great pains to contradict the 
general opinion of that time, that codfish could not 
be properly cured on the Labrador coast, and in- 
stanced, that a merchant at Temple Bay had that 
year, 1772, made 5000 quintals of codfish in no way 
inferior to the best manufactured in Newfoundland. 
He did not anticipate, however, that the fisheries would 
ever be pursued north of 54°. The station at Temple 
Bay was the only one where codfish was dried for mar- 
ket, but considerable numbers of vessels and boats 
came from Newfoundland and returned there with their 

The whale fishery, he reported, was prosecuted mainly 
by New Englanders, who " swarmed on the coasts like 
locusts," but for several years past had been very 

He strongly recommended that the seal fishery should 
be more largely followed up, because oil was rapidly 
advancing in price, owing to the increased use of lamps, 
and he felt sure no one who had been used to this luxitry 
would ever abandon it owing to the increase in price of 
oil. His description of the manner of setting the seal nets 
is very complete. 

He strongly supported Palliser's regulations, and urged 
the enforcement on the coast of the rules for the gover- 
nance of the fishery in Newfoundland. His views upon 
the debated transfer of Labrador to Quebec were very 
pronounced, he being strongly of opinion that it should 
remain attached to Newfoundland. 

In spite of the lack of attention given by the Province 
of Quebec to this portion of its government, a very 
great improvement took place in the condition of the 
Eskimos. The fair and enlightened treatment accorded 


to them by Cartwright, the history of which will be told 
in a later chapter, doubtless had a beneficial effect all 
along the coast. The Eskimo trade was an important 
consideration, and as they were more or less a nomadic 
people, they traded where they received the best treat- 
ment Cartwright's boast that he was the chief agent 
in their amelioration had a great deal of truth in it. 
That is, as regards those Eskimos who frequented 
southern Labrador : farther north their improved con- 
dition was owing to the devoted labours of the 
Moravian Missionaries. 

An interesting description of the southern Eskimo is 
given by Captain A. Crofton in 1798. He says : — 

" During my continuance in Temple Bay, a large 
shallop arrived from the northward, with and belonging 
to a tribe of Eskimeaux Indians, consisting of six men, 
five women, and seven children ; they were on their 
passage to the harbour of Bradore, where it was their 
intention to remain the winter with the English fisher- 
men, and to be employed in the seal fishery. They had 
been so provident as to bring with them some oil and 
whalebone to barter for English provisions and 
necessaries, which they are now very partial to, prefer- 
ring European clothing to the seal skin dresses they 
formerly appeared in ; and are now so much civilized 
as to abhor raw meat, and always dress their victuals in 
a very decent manner, having several cooking utensils 
with them. They have likewise laid aside the bow and 
arrow for musquets, and are excellent marksmen. 

" The devastation committed by the French ships in 
this place I suppose has discouraged the original 
proprietors, Pynsant and Noble, from carrying on trade 
with any great spirit, having only one shallop fishing 
here this summer, which has discouraged the Indian 


trade, as those people now require clothing, biscuits, 
powder and shot, and from their present deportment it 
is most probable, that in future they will become a very 
great acquisition to our commerce. I am sorry to 
observe, that want of knowledge of their language, and 
their short stay, prevented my obtaining all the in- 
formation respecting them that I wished, but am con- 
fident that they are numerous, being not less than four 
thousand along the coast to the southward of the 
Moravians or Unitas Fratrum settlement, of whom they 
seem not to have any knowledge. Mr. Noble's agent 
says they are strictly honest and well behaved, which I 
had an opportunity of observing, having the whole tribe 
to visit me twice on board the Pluto, and sent them on 
shore much pleased with their reception. A merchant 
from Quebec, who has a small settlement seventy 
leagues north of Temple Bay, has hitherto been the 
principal supplyer, but from the great alteration I have 
observed in the Eskimeaux Indians since I met them 
twenty years ago, it is probable that in a short time 
they will navigate the coast in vessels of their own con- 
struction, as I discovered in their shallop carpenter and 
shipwright tools of all descriptions." 

Captain Crofton made inquiries at Chateau about the 
Moravians, but could get no information concerning them, 
thus indicating what little communication there was at 
that time between Northern and Southern Labrador. 

His optimistic prognostication about the Eskimos, 
alas ! was never realized. The southern tribes soon 
became extinct. Intercourse with the white race proved 
their ruin. The European clothes and European food, 
which Captain Crofton complacently noted had been 
adopted by them, no doubt were the principal agents 
in their destruction. To which must be added also the 


adoption of European vices and the introduction of 
European diseases. 

Captain Crofton's estimate of the number of Eskimos 
on the southern coast was no doubt much too large. 

These southern Eskimos had not the benefit of the 
teaching of the Moravian Missionaries as had their 
northern brethren. No effort was made to compensate 
them for the loss of their pristine virtues or to help 
them to withstand the white man's contaminating in- 
fluence. They remained sunken in heathendom to the 
last. Chappell {Voyage of Rosamund^ 1818), tells of 
a tribe of about fifty persons that visited Pinson's 
establishment near Lanse-a-loup. While there a woman 
died, and her female infant was immediately stoned to 
death and buried with her. 


Regulations for ye Fishery on the Coast of Labradore, 

Anticosti, Madelaines and Whale Fishery, 

April 8th, 1763. 


Rules, Orders and Regulations observed on the Coast of 
Labradore, and on the Islands of Anticosti and the Made- 

Whereas the property of all the land on the said Coast 
of Labradore and the Islands of Anticosti and the Madelaines 
is in the Crown, and since the conquest thereof no part of it 
has been lawfully given or granted away and no power being 
vested in me to give or grant auy exclusive possessions or 
privileges to any person whatever, and Whereas it has ever 
been the policy of the nation to give to His Majesty's sub- 
jects from Britain in preference to all others to carry on the 

In order to invite Adventurers into that extensive Field 


for Fishing and Trade, I hereby order and direct that ye 
whole shall be publick and free to all the King's British 
subjects in preference to all others till His Majesty's further 
pleasure shall be known, under the following Regulations 
subject to such alterations and additions as may hereafter 
be found necessary for extending and improving that valuable 
branch of Trade : 

1. All the Rules and Regulations ordained by that excel- 
lent Act of the loth and nth of WiUiam III, intitled An 
Act for the Encouragement of the Trade and Fisheries to 
Newfoundland shall be strictly observed on ye Coasts and 
Islands above mentioned, except that Proviso in the said 
Act which says (provided always that all such persons as 
since the 25th day of March 1765 have built etc.), is not to 
be in force on the Coasts and Islands above mentioned. 

2. All British Whale Fishers are to choose places on the 
shore for landing to cut up their Whales and other Oil fish 
and to make their Oil as they respectively arrive with Fish 
to land, observing that they are never to occupy or use any 
place that ever has or hereafter may be used by any British 
Cod fisher. Whale Fishers from the plantations may fish 
within the Gulph of St. Lawrence for Whale only, but not 
for cod or any other fish, and they may land on the said 
Coast and Islands within the Gulph and nowhere else, to 
cut up their Whales and to make their oil, and for that 
purpose may use any place that they find unoccupied and 
that never have been used by any British Fishing ships 
for either Whale, Cod or Seals, taking especial care that 
they do nothing to annoy or hinder any British Fishers what- 

3. Whereas complaint has been made to me that the 
Whale Fishers from the plantations have a practice of turning 
adrift ye useless part of the carcasses of Whales to the annoy- 
ance and damage of neighboring fishers for Cod and Seal, 
or else leave them on ye shore which is a great nuisance. 
I hereby order and direct that all Whale fishers shall convey 


the carcasses of the whales to at least three leagues from 
the shore. 

4. No vessel shall be considered as a British fishing ship 
nor be entitled to the privileges thereof, or of being Admirals 
of harbors on the coast and islands above mentioned, except 
such as clear out from Britain the same season and carry out 
men to be actually employed in ye fishery and to return to 
Britain when the fishing season is over. 

5. If any person commits murther, whether of any of His 
Majesty's Christian or Indian subjects on the Coasts or 
Islands above mentioned, or any other criminal crime, all 
His Majesty's subjects are hereby required and authorized 
to apprehend such offenders and carry them before the 
Commanders of any of His Majesty's Ships, or before the 
Admiral of any Harbor, and Oath being made before them 
of the fact, the Captain of any of His Majesty's ships are 
hereby ordered and directed to secure them, and when they 
join me to bring such offenders with them in order to the 
being tried at the general Assizes. 

Given under my hand, 8th April, 1765. 

Hugh Palliser. 

By command of His Excellency, 
John Horsnaill. 

Regulations for Labrador Fishery^ 1765. 

Regulations for carrying on a Fishery and Trade on the Coast of 
Labrador distributed throughout this Government. 


Whereas a most valuable Fishery and Trade may be 
carried on upon the Coast of Labrador for establishing of 
which on the best footing for the benefit of the nation some 
Rules, Orders and Regulations are immediately necessary, 
and above all things first to banish all disorderly people who 
can't be depended upon for preserving good order and peace 


with the savages (upon which the success of His Majesty's 
intentions for opening this extensive field of commerce to his 
subjects wholly depends). I therefore hereby order and direct 
that the following Rules, Orders and Regulations shall be 
strictly observed on all the Coast of Labrador within my 
Government, subject to such alterations as may hereafter be 
found necessary for the aforementioned purposes. \ 

1. That no inhabitant of Newfoundland no By Boatkeeper 
nor any person from any of the colonies shall on any pretence 
whatever go to the Coast of Labrador (except Whale fishers 
within the Gulph of St. Lawrence from the Colonies as 
allowed by my order of 8th April last) and if any such are 
found there, they shall be corporally punished for the first 
offence and the second time their boats shall be seized for the 
public use of British ship fishers upon that coast. 

2. That no person whatever shall resort to Labradore to 
fish or trade but ship fishers annually arriving from His 
Majesty's Dominions in Europe lawfully cleared out as Ship 
fishers, carrying at least 21 men all engaged to return after 
the season is over to the King's Dominions in Europe. 

3. That all Rules, Orders and Regulations (respecting 
British Ship Fishers) ordained by that excellent Act of loth 
and nth of William HI entitled an Act for the encourage- 
ment of the Trade and Fisheries of Newfoundland shall be 
strictly observed on the Coast of Labrador. 

4. And as a further encouragement to British Ship Fishers 
the first arriving Ship in any Harbour on that Coast (besides 
being Admiral of that Harbour) shall have the privilege of 
leaving in that Harbour one small vessel not exceeding eighty 
tons with a gang of ten men and no more for the next winter 
seal and whale fishery and no other people whatever shall 
stay the winter in that Harbour on pain of corporal punish- 
ment such vessel to be properly armed for defence, and the 
Master to be a prudent, discreet person, to prevent anything 
being done to break the Peace which I made with the Carolit 
or Esquimaux Savages on the 21st instant, who have promised 


to live in friendship with us by night and by day, so long as 
we forbear to do them any harm. The Master of the 2nd 
arriving British Fishing Ship in any Harbour as above men- 
tioned shall (besides being Vice-Admiral of the Harbour) 
have the exclusive right to all the Salmon fishery in that 
Harbour during that season. The Master of the 3rd arriving 
British Fishing Ship as aforementioned (besides being Rear- 
Admiral of the Harbour) shall enjoy in common with the ist 
and 2nd ships the exclusive privilege of trafficking with the 
savages, under the Regulations prescribed in the following 

5. The Master of the ist, 2nd and 3rd arriving British 
Fishing Ships in any Harbour on the Coast of Labrador 
shall equally enjoy an exclusive privilege of Trading with the 
natives that may come within limits of that Harbour (the 
precise limits belonging to each harbour to be hereafter ascer- 
tained and made publick), and no other persons whatever 
shall have any trade or truck with the savages on forfeiture 
of all goods so trucked for to be equally divided among the 
three Admirals of that harbour, and to lose their liberty of 
fishing on the Coast for that year. 

That within the limits of each harbour a proper place shall 
be fixed upon by the Admirals at a proper distance from all 
the fishing stages where they are to make a barrier for truck- 
ing with convenience and safety with the savages, and on no 
account to suffer their people and the savages to mingle 
together. And if either of the Admirals truck with them at 
any other place within or without the limits of their own port 
such Admiral shall forfeit all the goods trucked for to be 
equally divided between the other Admirals, and also to forfeit 
all his privilege as Admiral for that season, and for better pre- 
venting confusion and for preserving peace with the savages 
all further Regulations or Orders that may be made by the 
Commanders of any of His Majesty's Ships stationed on the 
Coast of Labrador for the time being shall be strictly con- 
formed to. 


6. All British Fishing Ships as well as the Admirals of the 
Harbours during the summer fishery for Cod, that is from the 
time of their arrival to the time of their departure may also 
carry on the whale fishery. This the early arriving ships may 
do with great advantage, there being abundance of Whales on 
the Coast in the months of April, May and June. 

Given, etc., in Pitt's Harbour the 28th August, 1765. 

Hugh Palliser. 

This regulation published throughout this Government. 

By Command of His Excellency, 
John Horsnaill. 

Order Concerning the Whale Fishery on the Coast of 
Labrador, 1766. 


Whereas a great many vessels from His Majesty's plantation 
employed in the Whale fishery resort to that part of the 
Gulph of St. Lawrence and Coast of Labrador which is 
within this Government and as I have been informed that 
some apprehensions have arisen amongst them that by the 
Regulations made by me relating to the different fisheries in 
those parts they are wholly precluded from that Coast. 

Notice is hereby given that the King's Officers stationed in 
those parts have always had my orders to protect, assist and 
encourage by every means in their power all vessels from the 
plantations employed in the Whale fishery, coming within this 
Government and pursuant to His Majesty's orders to me all 
vessels from the plantations will be admitted to that Coast, 
on the same footing as they ever have been admitted in New- 
foundland respecting the Cod fishery, under the Act of Parlia- 
ment passed in the loth and nth years of William HI 
commonly called the Fishing Act, always to be observed. 

And by my Regulations for the encouragement of the 


Whale Fishers they are also under certain necessary restric- 
tions (herein prescribed) permitted to land and cut up their 
whales in Labrador, this is a liberty that never has been 
allowed them in Newfoundland, because of the danger of 
prejudicing the Cod fishery carried on by our adventurers 
ships from Britain, lawfully qualified with fishing certificates 
according to the aforementioned Act, who are fitted out at a 
very great risque and expence in complying with the said Act, 
therefore they must not be liable to have their voyages over- 
thrown or rendered precarious by any means or by any other 
vessels whatever. 

And whereas great numbers of the Whaling crews arriving 
from the plantations, on the Coast of Labrador early in the 
spring considering it as a lawless country were guilty of all 
sorts outrages before the arrival of the King's Ships in 
plundering whoever they found on the Coast too weak to 
resist them. Obstructing our ship adventurers from Britain, 
by banking amongst their boats along the Coast which drives 
the fish away, and is contrary to the most ancient and most 
strictly observed Rule of the fishery, and must not be suffered ; 
also by destroying their fishing works on the shore, stealing 
their boats, tackle and utensils, firing the woods all along the 
Coast and hunting for and plundering, taking away or murder- 
ing the poor Indian natives of the country by these violences, 
barbarities and other notorious crimes and enormities, that 
Coast is in ye utmost confusion, and with respect to the 
Indians is kept in a state of war. 

For preventing these practices in future, Notice is hereby 
given that ye King's Officers in those parts are authorized 
and strictly directed to apprehend all such offenders within 
this Government and to bring them to me to be tried for the 
same at the General Assizes at this place, and for the better 
Government of that country, for Regulating ye fisheries and 
for protecting His Majesty's subjects from insults from ye 
Indians, I have His Majesty's Commands to erect Block- 
houses and to estabUsh guards along that Coast. 


This notification is to be put up in the Harbours in 
Labrador within my Government. 

Given at St. John's in Newfoundland, ist August, 1766. 

Hugh Palliser. 
By Order of His Excellency, 
John Horsnaill. 

N.B. — Three copies of these Regulations enclosed in a 
letter to Governor Bernard at Boston. 

Surrogate Comniissiotiy 1765. 


By Virtue of the power and authority to me given by His 
Majesty's Letters made Patent, bearing date at Westminster 
the ninth day of April in the fourth year of the reign of our 
Sovereign Lord George III by the Grace of God of Great 
Britain, France and Ireland, King Defender of the Faith I do 
hereby constitute and appoint you to be 

my Deputy or Surrogate with full power and authority to 
assemble Courts within to enquire into 

all such complaints as may be brought before you and to hear 
and determine the same to all intents and purposes as I 
myself might or would do. By virtue of the power and 
authority vested in me you have likewise power and authority 
to seize and detain in order to proceed to condemnation all 
unaccustomed prohibited or run goods that may be found 
within the aforesaid limits or ports adjacent. And I do grant 
and give unto you full power and authority 

to administer the several oaths to any person or persons you 
shall think fit agreeable to the several Acts of Parliament made 
in that behalf. And I do strictly enjoin all Admirals of 
Harbours, all Justices of the Peace, all Officers Civil and 
Mihtary, and all other His Majesty liege subjects to be aiding 
and assisting you the said and to obey and 

put into execution all such lawful orders as you shall give unto 


them as I myself might or would do by virtue of the power 
and authority vested in me. 

Given under my hand this 13th April, 1765. 

By Command of His Excellency, 
John Horsnaill. 

Commissions delivered to : — 

Captain Hamilton of His Majesty's Sloop Zephyr from point 
Riche to St. Barbe on Newfoundland and from St. John's 
River to Cape Charles on the Coast of Labradore. 

Captain Sexton from Cape Ray to Ferryland. 

Captain Thompson of His Majesty's Ship Lark from Trinity 
to Quirpont, both inclusive. 

Sir Thos. Adams, Bart., of His Majesty's Ship Niger on 
the Coast of Labradore from the entrance of Davis' Streights 
to York Harbour inclusive. 

Daniel Burr, Esq., on the Coast of Newfoundland from 
Cape Bonavista to Cape St. Francois. 

Hugh Palliser. 
By Command of His Excellency, 
John Horsnaill. 


QUITE the most notable of the early settlers upon 
the Labrador was Capt. George Cartwright. He 
was a scion of a well-known English family, 
which first came into prominence through the influence 
of Archbishop Cranmer, whose sister had married a 
Cartwright of the day. Two of his brothers attained 
considerable notoriety in English public life, — Major 
John Cartwright, the reformer and patriot, and Edmund 
Cartwright, poet, philanthropist, and inventor of the 
power loom. George Cartwright served in the East 
Indies as a cadet of the 39th Foot Regiment, and in 
the German war as aide-de-camp to the Marquis of 
Granby, and it is said would have undoubtedly risen 
to distinction had he remained in the Army. The 
circumstances which led him to take up his residence 
in Labrador were singularly fortuitous. In 1766 John 
Cartwright was appointed First Lieutenant of H.M.S. 
Guernsey, ordered to the Newfoundland station with 
the Governor, Sir Hugh Palliser, on board. George 
Cartwright, being on half-pay at the time, and "hearing 
that bears and deer were plentiful there," decided to 
accompany his brother, and spent the summer with 
him cruising about the Newfoundland and Labrador 
coasts. In 1768 he again visited Newfoundland with 
his brother, who in the meanwhile had been appointed 


to the dignified post of Naval Surrogate, and accom- 
panied him on a memorable expedition up the Exploits 
River to Red Indian Lake, where they hoped to meet 
and open friendly relations with the unfortunate 
Beothuks, which expedition, unhappily, failed of its 
purpose. It was then that he conceived the idea of 
settling on Labrador. He had been disappointed in an 
expected promotion in his regiment, several junior 
officers purchasing their steps over his head ; and 
having, as he said, " an insatiable propensity for shoot- 
ing," and hearing that Labrador was practically virgin 
country, he was irresistibly drawn to the wild, free, ad- 
venturous life of a settler on that almost unknown coast. 

Early in 1770 he entered into partnership with Lieut. 
Lucas, who had been on the Guernsey with, him in 1766, 
and whose adventures have already been told. As- 
sociated with these novices in business were Perkins 
and Coughlan, who were largely interested in the New- 
foundland trade and had a considerable establishment 
at Fogo. They designed to carry on a trapping and 
fishing business, both seal and cod, and also to endeavour 
to trade peaceably with the Eskimo through the medium 
of Lucas, who had learned the language. 

Cartwright and Lucas arrived at Fogo in July, 1770, 
and at once hired a shallop to convey them to Cape 
Charles, where they intended to make their first start. 
It will be remembered that this was the scene of Darby's 
ill-fated scheme to establish a whale fishery. Here 
Cartwright arrived in safety and took up his abode in 
the house which had been built by Darby. His retinue 
consisted of Mrs. Selby, his housekeeper, two English 
men-servants, eight or ten fishermen and trappers, and 
a number of dogs of various sporting breeds. On his 
arrival in Labrador, he says, " Being secluded from 


society, I had time to gain acquaintance with myself," 
and therefore began his journal of Transactions and 
Events Dufing a Residence of Nearly Sixteen Years on 
the Labrador, which he published in 1792. It is in three 
large quarto volumes, full of interesting information, 
though somewhat tedious to read. In his Preface he 
excuses the literary style of his book, which he 
says " will be compensated for by its veracity," and 
informs us that "the transactions of the day were 
generally entered at the close of the same, and were 
written for no other purpose than to serve as a memor- 
andum for my own use and personal reference." The 
extreme candour of the narrative, especially as to the 
incidents of his private life, makes one certain that such 
was the case. His observations on the natural history 
of the country are particularly valuable, as is also his 
account of the Eskimos. The following short " Precis " 
of such a large book must naturally be very inadequate, 
and all interested in Labrador are recommended to 
study for themselves the pages which both Southey and 
Coleridge declared to be deeply interesting. 

On the morning of his arrival, he tells of the first 
achievement of his Hanoverian rifle, shooting with it an 
otter, a black duck, and a spruce game. A record of 
all the creatures which fell to this extraordinary weapon 
of precision would astound a sportsman of the present 
day. Either the weapon was remarkable or " the man 
behind the gun " was one of the best shots that ever 
lived, for it was a common occurrence for him to put a 
bullet through a goose or a duck on the wing, knock 
the head off a partridge, or, more difficult still, to shoot 
a loon in the water. Witness the entry in his journal, 
March 22nd, 1771 : — 

" I killed a spruce game with my rifle ; but my eye 


not being clear enough to attempt beheading the bird 
as I usually do, I fired at the body, and the ball knocked 
him entirely to pieces." 

The frequency with which similar entries occur in his 
Journal should remove any doubts as to his veracity. 
He notes one day having beheaded three spruce game 
with three successive rifle shots, and again having killed 
a raven with his rifle at above a hundred yards dis- 
tance. Probably both birds and beasts had little fear 
of man, and he was thus able to approach them quite 

Governor Byron, of Newfoundland, the poet's grand- 
father, took great interest in Cartwright's enterprise, 
and sent Lieutenant John Cartwright in a sloop of war 
with carpenters and others, to assist him in getting 
himself comfortably settled before winter came on. 
Darby's old houses were soon repaired, and a new one 

Lieutenant Lucas went north immediately to find 
the Eskimos, with whom they expected to establish 
a lucrative trade in furs. He returned a few weeks 
afterwards, and was followed by a family of Eskimos, 
consisting of ten or twelve men, women, and child- 
ren, who took up their abode near Cartwright, 
and were an unmitigated nuisance to him the whole 
winter, depending upon him entirely for supplies of 
food. Fortunately they were not hard to please. On 
one occasion when they came to him and complained, 
as usual, that their provisions were exhausted, he gave 
them " a skin bag filled with seals' phrippers, pieces of 
flesh and rands of seal fat ; it was a complete mixture 
of oil and corruption with an intolerable stench, and no 
people on earth, I think, except themselves would have 
eaten its contents. The Indians, however, were of a 


different opinion, and considered it a most luxurious 
feast." Cartwright says that they were the most 
uncleanly people on earth. His description of some of 
their nauseous habits will not bear repetition. 

The company was increased in October by five men 
who had been shipped on shares for the seal fishery. 
The men found their own provisions, and Cartwright 
found the nets and implements ; the catch was divided 
half and half, the men selling their share to the com- 
pany at a stipulated price. 

Cartwright describes his outfit for the seal fishery as 
follows : — 

" The whole consists of twelve shoal nets of forty 
fathoms by two, and three stoppers of a hundred and 
thirty fathoms by six. The latter are made fast one 
end to the island and the other to a capstan on the 
land ; by this means the head ropes are lowered to the 
bottom or raised to the surface at pleasure, and being 
placed about forty yards apart form two pounds. 
There is a narrow tickle of twenty yards in width 
between this island and the continent, across which a 
net is placed to stop the seals passing through." 

The seals passed along the coast on their migration 
south, about the end of November. The first season 
was a very successful one, and from November 28th to 
December 14th they seemed to have nearly as m.any 
seals as they could attend to. 

Each year afterwards the nets were ready and out by 
November 20th, but not always with the same success. 
The length of the season seemed to depend upon the 
coldness of the water; when the anchor ice, or "lolly," as 
Cartwright called it, began to form, the nets had to be 
taken in. In 1774 a large number of seals were taken 


on December 24th, and in 1778 the fishery had to be 
abandoned by December 5th. In 1785 not a single 
seal was taken. 

During the first years of his life on the Labrador he 
had pleasant neighbours only twelve miles from him at 
York Fort in Chateau Bay. A small garrison of 
marines under a few officers was stationed there, with 
whom he exchanged many visits. On Christmas Eve 
he gives the following description of the revels which 
he said were customary in Newfoundland, having been 
imported there from Ireland : — 

" At sunset the people ushered in Christmas accord- 
ing to the Newfoundland custom. In the first place 
they built a prodigious fire in their house ; all hands 
then assembled before the door, and one of them fired a 
gun loaded with powder only ; afterwards each drank a 
dram of rum, concluding the ceremony with three 
cheers. These formalities being performed with great 
solemnity, they returned into their house, got drunk as 
fast as they could, and spent the whole night in drink- 
ing, quarrelling, and fighting. This is an intolerable 
custom, but as it has prevailed from time inmemorial it 
must be submitted to." 

Every Christmas afterwards he has to record the 
same occurrence, much to his annoyance. 

About the end of January, Mr. Jones, of York Fort 
(the surgeon), set out from there to walk to Cartwright's 
settlement, where his services were required, but, losing 
his way, he was frozen to death. They found him 
several days after, his faithful Newfoundland dog by 
his side. They covered his body as well as they could 
with boughs and snow, but could not persuade the poor 
animal to leave her master. 


Cartwright himself had to officiate at the ceremony 
which this poor young man had intended to perform, 
and acquitted himself to the extreme satisfaction of the 
mother, but he said he never wished to resume the 
office again. His patient, however, became very ill 
some days after, and " being destitute of every 
medicine prescribed in such cases, I was entirely at a 
loss what to give her, but as I judged that Labrador tea 
{ledmn latifoliuvi) was of the same nature as the herbs 
recommended, I had some gathered from under the 
snow in the woods, and gave her a pint of the strong 
infusion of the plant, with the most beneficent results," 
Three days after he writes : — 

" I read prayers to my family and churched Nanny, 
who is now, thank God, perfectly recovered, an event 
which I have reason to believe was effected by the 
Indian tea." 

Having acted as doctor and clergyman, it is but 
natural to suppose that he would also have to assume 
the duties of the other learned professions ; and, in fact, 
we often find him acting first as judge and then as exe- 
cutioner to carry out the sentences he had imposed. 
One gross offender he chained to his bed-post until he 
could be carried to St. John's for trial. Another he 
sentenced to thirty-five lashes for having threatened 
his (Cartwright's) life, and immediately proceeded to 
inflict the punishment, but after twenty-nine strokes 
the man fainted, and had to be released. We can be 
sure that the blows were not light from a man of Cart- 
wright's physique. 

On another occasion two men refused to do his bid- 
ding, and were insolent, so he gave them both "a severe 
beating with a stout stick," and sent them off. They 


were no sooner in their boat than they began to abuse 
him again, upon which he pursued them and gave them 
another " dressing." On the next day the men came 
again, and Cartwright this time gave them a " trim- 
ining" for being abusive when he left them the night 

He did not scruple to perform any office of the 
Church, even to the Marriage Service, marrying with 
all due ceremony one William Bettres to Cathrine 
Gourd, one of the maid-servants he brought from 

His first winter passed uneventfully but busily; nearly 
every day his journal bears record of game of some 
description being secured. White bears, caribou, 
wolves, foxes, otter, beaver, etc., and every variety of 
feathered game in its season. On June 20th his first 
news of the outside v/orld was received when the first 
vessel arrived from Newfoundland. He was greatly 
shocked to hear that his partner, Lieutenant Lucas, had 
been lost at sea, the ship on Avhich he sailed for 
England the previous autumn never having reached its 

Owing to the neglect of his partners, Perkins and 
Coughlan, whom he accused of taking care of their 
private enterprises to the detriment of their joint trans- 
actions, he was not prepared in time for the salmon or 
cod fishery. The river was full of salmon, but he had 
no nets to catch them nor salt to cure them, and esti- 
mated his loss thereby at ^^400. 

In July a considerable number of Eskimos came 
to the harbour, and he soon established a brisk barter 

' The solemnization of marriage in Newfoundland by persons not in 
holy orders became so prevalent that in 1817 an Imperial Act was passed 
forbidding the practice, and making such marriages illegal. 


trade with them. The proceedings were opened by 
their presenting him with five silver fox skins, and 
he reciprocated with beads and needles, to their entire 
satisfaction. In order to inspire their confidence he 
went over to the island where they were, pitched his 
tent among them, sending all his own people away. 
He carried on a lively trade all the afternoon with- 
out dispute of any kind, when the proceedings were 
suddenly interrupted by the chief, who came into the 
tent and took Cartwright by the shoulder, speaking 
sternly the while. 

" As these people have hitherto plundered and mur- 
dered Europeans whenever they had the opportunity, 
I must confess that I expected that was to be my fate 
now, and my suspicions were confirmed upon recollect- 
ing that I had demonstrated to the Eskimos that my 
firearms were not loaded. However, being assured that 
if they wanted to kill me I could not prevent them, 

1 put the best face possible on this unpleasant affair, 
and followed the chief. He soon dispelled my fears by 
telling me that we had done enough business for one 

As a result of the afternoon trade he got 3 cwt. 
of whalebone, 100 seal skins, 19 fox, 12 deer, 4 otter, 

2 marten, i wolf, and i black bear, at the expense of a 
small quantity of beads and trifling articles of hardly 
any commercial value. A representative transaction 
was the exchange of a comb which cost twopence for 
a silver fox skin worth four guineas. 

Cartwright never had any trouble with the Eskimos 
during his whole residence on the coast, which is re- 
markable seeing that his immediate predecessor at 
Cape Charles was forced to abandon the place owing to 


their hostility. He says himself that his success with 
them was owing to unvarying firmness and fairness in 
his dealings with them. He would not allow himself 
to be robbed, and was always at pains to satisfy them in 
every transaction. His ascendancy over them became 
complete, and their friendship never ceased, although, 
as we shall see later, it was put to a very severe strain. 

Later in life Cartwright wrote a rhyming letter to his 
brother Charles, describing life on his " loved Labrador," 
and thus tells of his intercourse with the Eskimos : — 

The Eskimo from ice and snow now free, 

In shallops and whale boats go to sea ; 

In peace they rove along the pleasant shore. 

In plenty live nor do they wish for more. 

Thrice happy race ; strong drink nor gold they know ; 

What in their hearts they think their faces show. 

Of manners gentle, in their dealings just, 

Their plighted promise safely you may trust. 

Mind you deceive them not, for well they know 

The friend sincere from the designing foe. 

They once were deemed a people fierce and rude. 

Their savage hands in human blood imbued ; 

But by my care (for I must claim the merit) 

The world now owes that virtue they inherit. 

Not a more honest or more generous race 

Can bless a sovereign or a nation grace. 

With these I frequent pass the social day. 

No broils, no feuds, but all is sport and play. 

My will's their law, and justice is my will. 

Thus friends we always were and friends are still. 

This idyllic picture certainly marks a very great 
change from the condition of things a short time before, 
as described by Palliser. While Cartwright claims the 
merit for this transformation, it was no doubt to 
Palliser's wise regulations that the beginning of the 
change was due, assisted greatly by the Moravian 
Missionaries who had just begun their noble work 
among the Eskimo. 


The v/inter of 1772 was particularly cold and stormy. 
Cartwright's English man-servant Charles was taken ill, 
and in spite of every attention, finally succumbed. As 
an indication of the hardships they had to endure, it is 
related that this unfortunate man Charles had his toes 
badly frostbitten one night during his illness, from 
putting his foot out from under the bedclothes, although 
he was in the warmest room in the house in which there 
was a blazing fire. 

His first visitors in the spring of 1772 were a number 
of salmon fishers employed by the firm of Noble and 
Pinson, who took possession of his salmon rivers, 
claiming that they had a right to do so under an 
Act of Parliament. Not being able to dispute the 
point, Cartwright was obliged to give way, and had to 
send his men into the next bay to set their nets. The 
Eskimos were so incensed at this occurrence that they 
were with difficulty restrained from killing Noble and 
Pinson's men. 

Although the injustice was patent, it is probable that 
Noble and Pinson were within their rights, as we have 
seen that Palliser's regulations forbade any permanent 
title to fishing posts, the first vessel arriving in a 
harbour each season from England having the choice 
of berths. 

However, when Cartwright went to England at the 
end of the year, he made representations on the matter 
to the Board of Trade, from whose papers the following 
information is culled : — 

"Jan. 28th, 1773. A memorial was read from Geo. 
Cartwright to the Earl of Dartmouth, describing the 
fisheries and commerce of Labrador, and complaining 
that he had been disturbed in the possession of a 
fishing post on that coast, and praying that he be 


confirmed and protected in its possession. Discussion 
on the matter was postponed until Governor Shuldham, 
Sir Hugh Palliser, and Noble and Pinson could be 

After several discussions it was finally decided, on 
February 19th, that actual residence and continual posses- 
sion were necessary for the carrying on of the seal and 
salmon fisheries, and Cartwright was confirmed in the 
possession of the fishing posts he had established on 
the Labrador. 

Governor Shuldham's proclamation putting the new 
rule into effect has already been given. 

Cartwright's evidence was taken at the same time 
touching the proposed transfer of Labrador to Quebec, 
but we are not informed of its tenour. It is to be 
presumed that he would be strongly against the transfer. 
He mentions in his journal that he presented to the 
Earl of Dartmouth a plan for the encouragement of 
trade on the Labrador, which was laid before His 
Majesty in Council, and was partially adopted. 

His intercourse with the Eskimos did not run alto- 
gether smoothly. In August, 177 1, he feared an 
outbreak, and believed that they had been " up to some 
of their old tricks" to the southward of him. On several 
occasions when individual Eskimos misbehaved them- 
selves, Cartwright did not hesitate to inflict corporal 
punishment. Once a man stole a skein of thread. 
Cartwright immediately demanded its return, and when 
the culprit brought it back administered a few strokes 
by way of punishment. The man resisted, when Cart- 
wright gave him a cross-buttock, and pitched him with 
great force headlong out of the tent. A few days after 
this, Cartwright became very ill while he was alone with 
the Eskimos, and one would have expected them to 


take this opportunity for reprisals, but they exhibited 
the greatest concern. He thus describes their conduct : — 

" After it was dark they gave me convincing proof of 
their regard, (which I most gladly would have excused), 
by assembling in and about the tent nearest to mine, 
and there performing some superstitious ceremonies for 
my recovery. As I was not an eye-witness of their 
rites, I can only say that they were accompanied by 
such horrid yells and hideous outcries as I had never 
heard before from the mouths of the human species. 
These dismal notes were continued till daylight ; add to 
this their dogs were continually fighting and tumbling 
into my tent." 

The games indulged in by the Eskimos interested 
Cartwright very much, and occasioned him a great deal 
of amusement. They were very fond of playing at 
ball, throwing it from one to another, each striving 
to get it, but were very poor catches. A species of 
" thread the needle " was also often played, which ended 
in all rolling upon the ground in glorious confusion. 
Cartwright taught them to play several English games, 
and among them leap-frog, which must have been 
inexpressibly funny. 

By his firm but fair dealing, by entering into their 
sports and pastimes, and ministering to them when they 
were ill or in want, within two years Cartwright ob- 
tained a complete ascendancy over them. With the 
intention of impressing upon them the importance of 
the English, of whom they were frankly contemptuous, 
thinking themselves the lords of creation, Cartwright 
conceived the unfortunate idea of carrying a family of 
them to England with him. He accordingly selected two 
of his earliest friends, Attuiock and Tooklavinia, with 


their wives Ickcongoque and Caubvick, and one little 
girl, Ickiuna, and sailed for England on November 
7th. They arrived at Waterford on the 24th of that 
month, where, he says, he was teased to death by the 
whole population, and finally got to London on Decem- 
ber 14th, His experiences there with the Eskimo are 
best told by himself: — 

" They were greatly astonished at the number of 
shipping in the river, for they did not suppose that 
there were so many in the whole world ; but I was 
exceedingly disappointed to see them pass over London 
Bridge without taking much notice of it. I soon dis- 
covered that they took it for a natural rock which 
extended across the river. They laughed at me when I 
told them that it was the work of men, nor could I make 
them believe it till we came to Blackfriars Bridge, 
which I caused them to examine with more attention, 
showing them the joints and pointing out the marks of 
the chisels upon the stones. They no sooner compre- 
hended by what means such a structure could be 
erected than they expressed their wonder with astonish- 
ing significance of countenance. On landing at West- 
minster Bridge we are immediately surrounded by a 
great concourse of people, attracted not only by the 
uncommon appearance of the Indians who were in their 
seal skin dresses, but also by a beautiful eagle and an 
Eskimo dog, which had much the resemblance of a 
wolf and a remarkable wildness of look. 

" In a few days time I had so many applications for 
admittance to see the new visitors that my time was 
wholly taken up in gratifying the curiosity of my 
friends and their acquaintances, and the numbers that 
came made my lodgings very inconvenient to the 
landlord as well as to myself. I therefore resolved to 


look out for a house, and soon hired a small one, ready 
furnished, for ten guineas a month in Little Castle 
Street Being willing, as far as lay in my power, to 
comply with the incessant applications of my friends 
for a sight of the Indians, and finding it impossible 
either to have any rest or time to transact business, I 
appropriated two days a week for that purpose. On 
those days not only was my house filled to an incon- 
venience, but the whole street was crowded with 
carriages and people, so that my residence was a 
great nuisance to the neighbourhood. 

" I once took the three men to the Opera when 
their Majestys were there, and we chanced to sit near 
Mr. Coleman, the manager of Covent Garden Theatre, 
who politely invited all the Indians and myself to a 
play at his house. He fixed on Cyvibeline, and they 
were greatly delighted with the representation. But 
their pride was most highly gratified at being received 
with thundering applause by the audience on entering 
the box. One afternoon I took Attuiock with me and 
walked beyond the tower, then took boat and rowed up 
the river to Westminster Bridge, from whence we 
walked to Hyde Park Corner and then home again. I 
was in great expectation that he would begin to relate 
the wonders which he had seen, but I found myself 
greatly disappointed. 

" He immediately sat down by the fireside, placed 
his hands on his knees, leaned his head forward, fixed 
his eyes on the floor in a stupid stare, and continued in 
that position for a considerable time. At length, tossing 
up his head, he broke out, ' Oh, I am tired ! Here are too 
many houses, too much smoke, too many people. Labra- 
dor is very good ; seals are plentiful there. I wish I was 
back ag-ain.' 


" Although they had often passed St. Paul's without 
betraying any great astonishment, or at least not so 
much as Europeans do at the first sight of one of those 
stupendous islands of ice which are daily to be seen on 
the coast of their own country, yet when I took them 
to the top of it and convinced them that it was built by 
the hands of men (a circumstance which had not 
entered into their heads before, for they had supposed 
it a natural production), they were quite lost in amaze- 
ment. Upon my asking how they would describe it to 
their countrymen on their return, they replied with a 
look of the utmost expression, they should neither 
mention it nor many other things they had seen, lest 
they should be called liars, from the seeming im- 
probability of such astonishing facts. Walking along 
Piccadilly one day with the two men, I took them into 
a shop to show them a collection of animals. We had no 
sooner entered than I observed their attention riveted 
on a small monkey, and I could perceive horror most 
strongly depicted on their countenances. At length the 
old man turned to me and faltered out, ' Is that an 
Eskimo ? ' On pointing out several other monkeys of 
different kinds they were greatly diverted at their mis- 
take which they had made, but were not well pleased 
to observe that monkeys resembled their race much 
more than ours. The great surgeon, Dr. John Hunter, 
invited them to dinner with him, and Attuiock, stroll- 
ing out of the room, came upon one of Dr. Hunter's 
anatomical specimens, a complete skeleton in a case. 
He was terribly frightened, and came to the conclusion 
that he also was to be killed and eaten and his bones 
similarly preserved, and was with great difficulty re- 

" Another day they happened upon a review of a 


regiment of soldiers by the King. They immediately 
collected such a crowd round them that it attracted the 
notice of His Majesty, who sent for them to stand in a 
place where they would not be crowded, and viewed 
them himself with much curiosity. He condescended 
to salute them by taking off his hat, accompanied with 
a gracious smile, at which they were highly pleased." 

Cartwright then took them to his father's country 
residence, where they were lost in amazement at the 
sight of the cultivated land, grounds, and level fields, 
declaring that the country was all made. They had a 
run with the hounds, and were in at the death, although 
they had only been on horseback three or four times 

Cartwright says that he omitted nothing that could 
make their stay pleasant which his pocket could afford, 
and particularly tried to impress them with the numbers 
and power of the English, for they had often declared on 
the Labrador that they could easily cut off all the English 
if they chose to assemble themselves together. But 
before they had been long in England they became 
greatly chastened, and confessed to Cartwright that the 
Eskimos were but as one man to the numbers of the 

As might have been expected, during their visit in 
London they were visited by that inquisitive person, 
Mr. James Boswell, as evidenced by the following entry 
in his immortal work : — 

" Dr. Johnson did not give me half credit when I 
mentioned that I had carried on a short conversation 
by signs with some Eskimo who were then in London, 
particularly with one of them who was a priest. He 
thought I could not make them understand me." 


People are generally indignant when their veracity- 
is called into question, but the faithful Boswell turned 
the insult into an occasion of adulation of his hero, for 
he adds : — 

" No man was more incredulous as to particular facts 
which were at all extraordinary, and no man was more 
inquisitive to discover the truth." 

Cartwright started on his return to Labrador full of 
spirits. The term of his partnership with Perkins and 
Coughlan had expired, and by the liberality of his 
father, who had given him ;^2000, he was enabled to 
embark "on his own bottom." 

His brother, Major John Cartwright, writes of him at 
this time : — 

"To-morrow my brother, the Eskimo, and myself 
are to dine with a select party of the Royal Society, 
among whom is to be Solander, We have had him 
frequently. My brother is in great spirits with regard 
to his Labrador schemes, and at first setting off, although 
he has hitherto experienced every loss and disappoint- 
ment that could befall a man. He hath an excellent 
heart and understanding, but early took a turn which 
has indeed been a source of continual satisfaction to 
him, but it has at the same time prevented him tasting 
the more refined delights of society in a superior degree. 
He will therefore be happy in Labrador." 

Again : 

" My brother has succeeded in his wish with Lord 
Dartmouth, and will shortly be proprietor of the tract 
in Labrador he had fixed upon. Our Eskimo friends 
are greatly admired, and most so by the most intelli- 


But, alas ! a dreadful misfortune was to befall him and 
his humble friends. The vessel had hardly left the 
Downs before Caubvick was taken ill. On reaching 
Lymington and consulting a surgeon he pronounced 
her complaint small-pox, which, says Cartwright, " had 
nearly the same effect upon me as if he had pronounced 
my sentence of death." One after the other the un- 
fortunate Eskimos were taken with this terrible disease, 
and all died except Caubvick, who slowly recovered. 

The sailing of the vessel was delayed for over two 
months, and he did not finally get away until July i6th. 

Caubvick's hair had become so matted with the 
disease that it had to be cut off, but she could not be 
persuaded to part with it, flying into a passion of rage 
and grief whenever Cartwright proposed it, which he 
continually did, knowing the danger of infection — a 
foreboding which was only too fully realized, for the 
following summer he has to record that one William 
Phippard came on an Eskimo encampment on an island 
in Invuctok Bay, where the whole family had evidently 
died of small-pox. Cartwright had melancholy proof 
that this was Caubvick's family from a medal found there, 
which he recognized as having been given to Caubvick 
by one of his brothers when in England. 

When the vessel arrived at Cape Charles all the 
Eskimos on the southern coast, numbering about five 
hundred, hurried to greet their relations and friends. As 
they drew near the shore and saw only Caubvick with 
Cartwright, their joy was changed to gloomy silence. 

" At length, with great perturbation and faltering- 
accents, they enquired, separately, what was become of 
the rest, and were no sooner given to understand by a 
silent, sorrowful shake of my head that they were no 
more, than they instantly set up such a yell as I never 


before heard. Many of them snatched up stones and 
beat themselves on the face and head till they became 
shocking spectacles. In short, the violent frantic ex- 
pressions of grief were such that I could not help 
participating with them so far as to shed tears myself 
most plentifully. They no sooner observed my emotion 
than, mistaking it for the apprehensions which I was 
under for fear of their resentment, they instantly seemed 
to forget their own feelings to relieve those of mine. 
They pressed around me, and said and did all in their 
power to convince me that they did not entertain any 
suspicions of my conduct towards their departed 

Cartwright returned to England again in December 
of that year and took with him an Eskimo boy of 
twelve years, whom he intended to educate in order 
that he might become the means of fuller communi- 
cation with the savages. Fearing that he also might 
take the small-pox he decided to have him inoculated, 
but the poor lad succumbed to the treatment within 
three days, to Cartwright's great grief. 

1774 found Cartwright in partnership with Robert 
and John Scott, with two vessels, The Earl of Dartmouth 
and the Lady Tyrconnel, and fully prepared to carry on 
a much more extensive trade than he had before at- 
tempted. The year passed uneventfully, his journal 
giving only the steady slaughter of birds and beasts ; 
the fisheries were successful, and altogether it seems to 
have been the most pleasant and prosperous year spent 
by him on the Labrador. 

In the spring of 1775 he decided to move further 
north, and built for himself a comfortable house at 
Sandwich Bay, which he appropriately named Caribou 
Castle. It was the most northerly of all the fishing 


stations at the time, excepting of course the Moravian 
Missions, and was practically virgin country, having 
been visited before only by wandering bands of Eskimo. 
He was extremely pleased with his new location. He says 
the sea-coast was weary and desolate in the extreme, 
and barricaded with ice even in July, but immediately 
Sandwich Bay was entered there was neither ice nor 
snow. The waters of the bay were covered with duck 
and other water birds, the hills were clothed with spruce 
and birch, and the shore bordered with grass. 

They took large quantities of cod with the seine in 
the waters of the bay, and more salmon in the rivers 
than they had salt to cure.^ 

One river which falls into Sandwich Bay he called 
the White Bear River, from a remarkable adventure 
which befell him there. Enormous quantities of salmon 
ascended this river every spring. Cartwright says that 
a rifle bullet could not be fired into the river without 
killing some of them, and the shores were strewn with 
the remains of thousands of salmon which had been 
caught and consumed by the polar bears. We have 
already heard that Cabot also reported this curious fact 
of natural history. One spring Cartwright went up this 
river during the salmon run and came upon several 
white bears fishing in a pool, and shot a she bear and 
also its cub. The report of his gun startled six or 
eight more bears out of the woods, at which he fired as 
quickly as he was able to load, but breaking his ramrod 
he had to fly to the woods until he could get his rifle 
loaded again. He then went farther up the river, where 

^ Cartwright found on the shore of Sandwich Bay a pair of caribou 
antlers with seventy-two points, which was believed to be the record head. 
The animal had apparently been killed in fight with another stag. He 
presented it to the Earl of Dartmouth. This head has recently been 
traced by Mr. J. G. Millais, who states that it has fifty-three points only. 


there was a beautiful little waterfall with a good sized 
pool below it. 

" Salmon innumerable were leaping in the air, and a 
great concourse of white bears were diving after them. 
Others were walking along shore, and others were going 
in and out of the woods." 

As he stood watching the curious scene an old dog 
bear came out of the woods close beside him. Waiting 
until the bear was within five yards of him he shot him 
through the head, but another bear followed so closely 
on the heels of the first that Cartwright had to fiy until 
he had loaded his rifle again. Returning, he fired and 
again killed a bear. Unfortunately he found himself 
short of ammunition, a circumstance which had never 
before happened to him, so was unable to avail himself 
of the finest opportunity for sport that ever man had. 
He counted thirty-two bears in sight at one time, but 
there were many more through the woods. He shot six 
bears altogether, but only secured one skin. " So ended 
in disappointment the finest sport I ever saw." 

This was again a very prosperous year, and his vessels 
went home in the fall loaded with fish, oil, salmon, and 
furs. During the summer he started a garden and set 
out peas, beans, radishes, onions, cress, cucumbers, corn, 
oats, and wheat. An ambitious list, and it is to be 
feared many of his vegetables did not come to perfec- 

In the spring of 1776, cod and salmon again appeared 
in great quantities and kept all hands at work. 

In the autumn he went home to spend the winter. 

When he started the following spring for Labrador 
he was obliged to sail in company with a fleet of 
vessels convoyed by the Pegasus sloop of war, as the 


war with the American colonies had broken out, and their 
privateers had already made themselves feared. The 
protection afforded by the Pegasus seems to have been 
rather moral than actual, for no effort was made to 
keep the fleet together, and Cartwright finally sailed off 
by himself, his " prophetic soul " still greatly troubled 
with the thought of American privateers. He arrived 
at Sandwich Bay without adventure on June 20th, and 
was informed that an American privateer was cruising 
in the Straits of Belle Isle and had taken one of 
Pinson's vessels. Shortly after he heard that the 
privateer had taken H.M.S. Fox and several bankers. 

The fishery that year was even more successful than 
the previous year, and in August cod were so plentiful 
that his people had not been in bed for nearly a week 
and were nearly dead with fatigue. But such a pros- 
perous state of affairs was too good to last. On August 
27th he writes : — 

" At one o'clock this morning I was aroused by 
a loud knocking at my door, and when I opened a 
body of armed men rushed in. They informed me that 
they belonged to the Minerva privateer, of Boston, in 
New England, commanded by John Grimes, mounting 
twenty 9-pounders and manned with 160 men, and 
that I was their prisoner. They then demanded my 
keys, and took possession of my vessels and all my 

About noon the Minerva worked into Blackguard 
Bay and came to anchor there, (Cartwright does not 
comment on the appropriateness of her anchorage). 
He went on board and was received civilly by Grimes, 
who told him for his consolation that he had a few 
days before taken three vessels belonging to Noble 


and Pinson, loaded them with fish and sent them off 
to Boston. A number of Noble and Pinson's men 
had shipped on board the Mmerva, and no less than 
thirty-two of Cartwright's men followed suit. The 
Minerva also took away four Eskimo to be made slaves 
of They loaded Cartwright's vessel, The Countess of 
Effingham, with fish and sent her off to Boston. " He 
gave me a small quantity of provisions, returned my 
boats and most of their sails, and by noon the ship, 
together with my brig, went to sea. May the devil go 
with them ! " 

Cartwright was particularly incensed at the desertion 
of Captain Kettle, (who seems to have been of very 
different calibre to his modern namesake of fiction), the 
master of the brig, and also hoped that he would have 
it in his power to reward the infamous behaviour of his 
former servants who were particularly active in dis- 
tressing him. It was a great satisfaction to him to find 
out afterwards that " that lying rascal Grimes," when he 
arrived in Boston, clapped Kettle and the rest of the 
traitors into prison, having tempted them with a promise 
of a share of the booty, but by this means avoiding 
giving it to them. Before Grimes sailed he turned two 
of the deserters ashore again, and Cartwright immediately 
gave them a most severe beating with a stout stick. 
The chronicle of this disastrous day closes with the 
following lame and impotent conclusion : " As soon as 
they were gone, I took up my gun, walked out upon the 
island, and shot a curlew." 

Cartwright calculated that he was robbed of ;^ 14,000 
worth of goods, which he feared would prove his ruin, as 
indeed it did. He was told that this privateer had 
plundered the merchants in Temple Bay and Charles 
Harbour to even a greater extent than they did him. 


His journal afterwards contains many bitter references 
to privateers. June 8th, 1779, was a particularly bad 
day, and he writes : — 

" If any ships are on this coast now, God help them, 
unless they are piratical privateers coming to plunder 
innocent people again ; for such I recommend to their 
friend the devil," 

But he had a pleasant surprise a month later, when 
his vessel The Countess of Effingharji put in an appear- 
ance with all his salt and most of the goods the priva- 
teer had taken away. She had been retaken on the 
passage to Boston by five of the crew, who took her 
across to Dartmouth and delivered her to Cartwright's 

Another American privateer visited the coast about 
1779 and committed many depredations, especially at 
Twillingate and Battle Harbour, so that the settlers 
north of Trinity Bay were actually in the utmost 
distress for want of provisions. But the Americans 
were not always successful in their raids, for at White 
Bay, Mr. Tory's people drove her off with the loss of a 
considerable number of the crew. 

This news kept him in a continual state of nerves, 
and every strange vessel afterwards was thought to 
be a privateer. In August one of his hands came 
running to him exclaiming " that he was taken again," 
but it proved to be H.M.S. Martett, Captain Durell, 
who had come to patrol the coast. The alarm, how- 
ever, put his spirits in such a state that he could not 
sleep. Captain Durell gave him three cases of small 
arms and plenty of ammunition in case he was again 
attacked. He served out the arms and ammunition, 
and offered ten guineas reward to any of his people 


who first gave notice of the enemy's approach. But 
he had yet to suffer at their hands : two years later 
a new vessel, with his whole collection of fish, oil, and 
furs being taken on the voyage to England, thus com- 
pleting his financial ruin. Cartwright was a guileless 
man, and generous to a fault. He once heard that 
one of his salmon posts had been taken possession 
of by a man called Baskem, and went immediately 
to turn him out, but finding the man, his wife, and 
children in a wretched condition of poverty, he made 
him a deed of gift of the house and all his rights to the 
post. He was continually being imposed upon by his 
principal rivals, Noble and Pinson. Once he lent them 
some provisions when they ran short, but when his own 
supply was late in arriving and he had to go to them 
to get back what he had lent, they made him pay 
through the nose for it. Another man, Forsythe, 
borrowed a lot of salt from him on the pretence that 
he had plenty at another point near, and would return 
it immediately, but it turned out that he had not a 
grain on the coast, and Cartwright again lost heavily 
through his guilelessness. 

When he got to England in 1779, his affairs were 
in such a bad way, owing to the losses he had sustained 
at the hands of the American privateers, that he had 
to call a meeting of his creditors and ask for time, 
when he hoped to pay them in full. But one mis- 
fortune after another fell upon him. His vessel, the 
Countess of Effi^tgham^ was lost ; then a new vessel, 
which he bought, was badly damaged in a terrific gale, 
and had to jettison her cargo, which was without 
insurance, and finally, as we have heard, was taken 
by the enemy. In 1783 he was thus deeper in debt 
than before, but his hopes were revived by hearing 


that a vein of ore had been discovered on his property ; 
so he determined to return again to Labrador and 
take with him an experienced miner, not in the least 
doubting that he would soon be out of debt, and 
indeed, in affluent circumstances. But on reaching 
Cartwright Harbour he was much mortified to find 
that his people had collected very little fur during the 
winter, had had a poor salmon fishery, and the ore, 
from which he had hoped so much, proved to be 
without use or value. 

He then saw that he was irretrievably ruined, but 
worked on, and had a fairly successful summer's fish- 
ing. Fate, however, had not yet done with him, for 
again the vessel with his fish was lost without insurance. 
But he did not yet despair, and when he met his 
creditors in England told them that he felt confident 
he could retrieve his fortune if allowed five years in 
which to do so, seeing that the war was over and he 
had nothing to fear from privateers. 

So in April, 1785, he started for the last time for 
Labrador, feeling that he could not look upon himself 
as an honest man unless he did all in his power to pay 
up " the last deficient penny " he owed. His plan was 
to take few servants, and employ them and himself 
in trapping during the winter and trading with the 
Eskimos in summer. The Under Secretary of State, 
Mr. Nepean, persuaded him to take out some convicts 
who were under sentence of transportation, and he 
accordingly went to Newgate and selected four young 
men. But they proved a troublesome lot, and of little 
use to him. He went out in a vessel to Trinity, and 
there hired a shallop to take him to Labrador. On the 
French shore, where the rights of the French had 
recently been confirmed by treaty, he was told that the 


commanders of English men-of-war had orders to turn 
all the English settlers out of the French district. 

In July, 1786, he received a letter from Noble and 
Pinson, who had become one of his principal creditors, 
" the whole contents of which are infamous falsities 
calculated to pick a quarrel in hopes of taking an unfair 
advantage of our situation." They accused him and 
his partner Mr. Collingham of embezzling part of their 
late estate, and had seized the consignment of fish 
which had been sent over at the end of 1785. Cart- 
wright immediately determined to start for England to 
confute their villainies and recover his property. On 
his arrival in London, he applied to his trustees and 
agents for the restitution of the property which had 
been seized ; this they refused to do, and he had con- 
sequently to enter an action at law against them. After 
many delays the case came up for trial ; the great 
Erskine, who was counsel for the other side, was finally 
obliged to admit that he had not a word to say in 
defence of his client, and judgment was given in Cart- 
wright's favour with all costs. 

This last trying experience caused him to determine 
never to return to Labrador, where he had experienced 
such hardships, disappointments, and wrongs. But he 
still retained an interest in the business. In his evidence 
before the Committee of the House of Commons in 
1793 he stated that his business on the Labrador had 
been very flourishing, having cleared over 100 per cent, 
for the past three years. 

He obtained an appointment as Barrack Master at 
Nottingham, a position which he filled with distinction 
and popularity until he retired in 18 17. 

It is recorded that once when political feeling was 
running very high at Nottingham, and the Radical 


populace had charge of the streets, he alone, although 
known to be a violent Tory, dared to show his face. 

He died two years after his retirement, at the age 
of eighty-one, full of energy to the last, his mind being 
occupied on his death-bed with proposals to the Hudson 
Bay Company to establish hunting and trading posts on 
the Labrador. He is described as a handsome man of 
Herculean frame, with great dignity of carriage, courtly 
manners, and agreeable conversation. 



SIR HUGH PALLISER, in his "Order for Estab- 
lishing Communication with the Eskimos," says, 
referring to the Moravian Brethren : — " I have invited 
Interpreters and Missionaries to go amongst them to 
instruct them, etc." 

This was somewhat disingenuous on the part of Sir 
Hugh, for the initiative undoubtedly came from the 
Moravians themselves, although when they made the 
proposition to him, he immediately encouraged and 
helped them to the utmost of his power. 

This was not the first attempt of these pious men 
to introduce Christianity among the heathen Eskimos 
on the Labrador. Fifteen years before Palliser's time, 
John Christian Erhardt, one of the Brethren, proposed 
that he should go to Labrador and establish a Mission 
there, such as was already successful in Greenland. 
He was a sailor by profession, perhaps of the rank of 
boatswain or second mate, and had been on a Dutch 
whaler fishing in Greenland waters, where he had many 
opportunities of seeing the great work which had been 
accomplished by the Brethren. He wrote a touch- 
ing letter to Bishop Johannes de Watteville in 1750, 
begging that he be allowed to undertake the work. 
" Now, dear Johannes," he said, " thou knowest that I 
am an old Greenland traveller. I have also an amazing 



affection for these countries, Indians and other bar- 
barians, and it would be a source of the greatest joy 
if the Saviour would discover to me that He has chosen 
me and would make me fit for this service." 

But Count Zinzendorf, the head of the Brethren in 
London, hesitated to undertake this new field of Mission 
work. At length, in 1752, the London firm of Nisbet, 
Grace, and Bell determined to fit out a vessel for a 
trading expedition to Labrador, and engaged Erhardt 
to go as interpreter and supercargo. Apparently these 
. merchants were desirous also that a settlement should 
be made there, and at their instigation four Moravian 
Brethren, Golkowsky, Kunz, Post, and Krumm, signified 
their willingness to accompany the expedition and to 
remain in the country. 

The vessel, which bore the appropriate name of Hope, 
arrived on the southern coast of Labrador on July nth, 
1752. Proceeding northwards they first met the Eski- 
mos on the 29th, and on the 31st arrived at a beautiful 
harbour in lat. 55.10, which they called Nisbett's Har- 
bour, and is now known as Ford's Bight. This they 
thought to be a suitable place for the settlement ; so 
landing, they took possession of the land in the name 
of King George HI, carving his name upon a tree. 

The Eskimos exhibited the greatest pleasure at meet- 
ing a white man who could speak their language, and 
Erhardt carried on a brisk barter trade with them in 
the most amicable manner. All during the month of 
August the missionaries, assisted by the ship's com- 
pany, laboured at getting their house finished and all 
preparations made for the winter. It was a matter of 
the greatest regret that none of them could speak the 
Eskimo language except Erhardt, and he was not very 
proficient Finally, on September 5th, everything being 


ready, the Hope left the harbour to seek further oppor- 
tunities for trade. Ten days later she again appeared 
with the dreadful news that Erhardt, the captain, and 
five of the crew had left the ship in a boat on the 13th 
to trade with a tribe of Eskimos whom they had en- 
countered, and had not been seen again. The mate, 
Goff, waited for two days for them in the greatest 
suspense, but having no other boat or a crew to man 
it, he decided to return to Nisbett's Harbour to get the 
assistance of the four missionaries and the boat which 
had been left for their use. The scene of the tragedy 
appears to have been quite near to Nisbett's Harbour. 
But very stormy weather came on, and after vainly 
attempting to reach the place in their boat, they sorrow- 
fully decided that there was no hope of rescuing their 
companions, and consequently abandoned the station, 
sailing on September 20th for St. John's. 

What happened to Erhardt and the boat's crew must 
for ever remain a mystery. It has always been conclu- 
ded that they fell victims to the cupidity and treachery 
of the Eskimos at the time v/hen they left the ship. But 
this is by no means certain. For in the following year 
the American whaler Argo, Captain Swaine, visited the 
place and found the house still standing, and the remains 
of the seven murdered men, which they buried. It thus 
appears that they had been accidentally delayed or 
perhaps detained by the Eskimos at the place where 
they left the ship, and later, finding the ship gone, made 
their way back to the house. Here they were after- 
wards murdered. Jens Haven records later that one of 
the murderers was pointed out to him, and Christian 
Drachardt tells that the graves where the whalers had 
buried the remains had been shown to him.^ 

^ In the report of the Argo's voyage, published in the Pennsylvania 
Gazette, November 17, 1753, and in Captain Swaine's log, no mention is 
made of finding or burying the remains of the murdered men. 


The seed of their great purpose was sown, however, 
and at once another of the brethren quietly and un- 
ostentatiously devoted himself to the work of converting 
the Eskimos on Labrador. Jens Haven, a carpenter 
by trade, ignorant of both the English and Eskimo 
languages, and unaccustomed to a seafaring life, 
decided within himself that it was for him to take 
up the work, and at once began the study of all the 
books he could get relating to the country and its 

In 1758 he went to Greenland and laboured in the 
missions there, learning the language and training him- 
self for the purpose he had in view. Returning in 1762 
to Herrnhut, the home of the Moravian Church in Ger- 
many, he declared his intention of going to Labrador. 
After much discussion he obtained permission to make 
the attempt, and, alone and unassisted, set out for 
London bent upon carrying out his design. Through the 
intervention of friends there he obtained an introduction 
to Commodore Palliser, who had just received his ap- 
pointment as Governor of Newfoundland. His pro- 
posals met with Sir Hugh's hearty sympathy, and all 
necessary assistance was at once accorded him. He 
made his way to St. John's, Newfoundland, and there 
waited for the arrival of Sir Hugh, who at once issued 
the following proclamation : — 

" Hitherto the Eskimoux have been considered in no 
other light than as thieves and murderers, but as Mr. 
Haven has formed his laudable plan, not only of uniting 
these people with the English nation, but of instructing 
them in the Christian religion, I require, by virtue of the 
powers delegated to me, that all men, whomsoever it 
may concern, lend him all the assistance in their 
power," etc. 


He also furnished him with the following compre- 
hensive Indian passport to be dispersed among the 
Eskimos : — 

Indian Passport fo?^ those inhabiting the Coast of Labra- 
dor, to bring a friendly intercourse between His M. 
subjects and them, and to be distributed amongst them 
by fans Haveti, a Moravia?z. 

Etc., Etc. 

Whereas many and great advantages would arise to His 
Majesty's Trading subjects, if a friendly intercourse could be 
established with the Esquimaux Indians, inhabiting the Coast 
of Labrador, and as all attempts hitherto made for that 
purpose have proved ineifectual, owing in great measure to 
the imprudent, treacherous, or cruel conduct of some people 
who have resorted to that coast, by plundering and killing 
several of them, from which they have entertained an opinion 
of our Dispositions and Intentions being the same with 
respect to them as their's are towards us, that is to circumvent 
and kill them. And whereas such wicked practices are most 
contrary to His Majesty's sentiments of humanity, to his 
desire of conciliating their affections, and his endeavours to 
induce them to trade with his subjects. In conformity to 
these, His Majesty's sentiments, I hereby strictly forbid such 
wicked practices for the future, and declare that all such as 
are found offending herein shall be punished with the utmost 
severity of the law. 

And whereas I have taken measures for bringing about a 
friendly communication between the said Indians and His 
Majesty's subjects, and for removing those prejudices that 
have hitherto proved obstacles to it, I hereby strictly enjoin 
and require all His Majesty's subjects who meet with any of 
the said Indians to treat them in the most civil and friendly 
manner and in all their bearings with them to act with the 


utmost probity and good faith particularly with such of them 
as may produce this Certificate of their having entered into 
treaty with me, and that I have in His Majesty's name assured 
them that they may by virtue thereof safely trade with His 
Majesty's subjects without danger of being hurt or ill-treated, 
and I hereby require and enjoin all His Majesty's subjects to 
conform and pay the strictest regard thereto, at the same time 
recommending it to both parties to act with proper caution 
for their own security till by frequent communication a perfect 
confidence may be established between them. 

Given under my Hand, St. John's, ist July, 1764. 

H. P. 

To Mr. Jens Haven to be dispersed amongst the Indians 

on the Coast of Labrador. 

By Command of His Excellency, 
(Signed) Jno. Horsenaill. 

This laudable design of Sir Hugh, however, failed of 
its purpose ; for, when Haven met the Eskimos and, after 
reading the passport, presented it to them, " they shrunk 
back terrified, and would not be persuaded to touch it, 
for they supposed it to be a living creature, having seen 
me speak words from it." This, however, anticipates 
somewhat. Haven found it quite difficult to make his 
way from St. John's to Labrador. The English mer- 
chants interested in the Newfoundland trade had just 
extended their operations to that coast, and communi- 
cations were infrequent. 

From Jens Haven's Jo7irnal, which he gave to Sir 
Hugh Palliser, and which is preserved at the Record 
Office, we learn that he went north with three shallops, 
which were going to Labrador to fish, and arrived at 
Carpunt on August 17th. Here they were joined by four 
shallops, which had just come from Labrador, and 
reported that a great number of Eskimos had been at 
York Harbour, and had driven away the English by 


their usual tactics of a sudden surprise and unearthly- 

The fleet of fishing boats being increased to ten, Jens 
Haven persuaded them to set out again for the Labrador 
coast, but their hearts failed them on the way across, 
and they scampered back to Carpunt. 

Haven then went on board Capt. Cook's vessel, and 
was kindly received by the great navigator, who was 
then engaged in surveying the northern parts of New- 
foundland and Labrador, Cook arranged for him to be 
taken to Labrador by an Irish vessel fishing at St. 
Julian's, and he finally landed at the much-desired bourne 
on August 24th. But the Eskimos had left Chateau Bay, 
and he was taken back to Carpunt, greatly disappointed. 

Here he found a Capt. Thompson and Capt. Nicholas 
Darby, and learned that the Eskimos had been there in 
his absence. But a few days afterward they returned, 
seeking to trade with a French captain whom they had 
been in the habit of meeting there. The encounter is 
best described in Haven's own words : — 

"September 4th, 1764, was the joyful day I had so 
long wished for, when one Eskimaux came into the 
harbour to see if Captain Galliot was there. While I was 
preparing to go to him he had turned, and was departing 
to return to his countrymen, who lay in the mouth of the 
harbour, with the intelligence that the Captain had 
sailed. I called out to him in Greenlandish that he 
should come to me, that I had words to say to him, and 
that I was his good friend. He was astonished at my 
speech, and answered in broken French ; but I begged 
him to speak in his own language, which I understood, 
and to bring his countrymen, as I wished to speak to 
them also ; on which he went to them, and cried with a 
loud voice ' Our friend is come.' 


" I had hardly put on my Greenland clothes when five 
of them arrived in their own boats. I went to meet 
them, and said, ' I have long desired to see you ! ' They 
replied, ' Here is an innuit ! ' I answered, ' I am your 
countryman and friend ! ' They rejoined, ' Thou art 
indeed our countryman.' The joy on both sides was 
very great, and we continued in conversation for a con- 
siderable time, when at last they invited me to 
accompany them to an island about an hour's row from 
the shore, where I should find their wives and children, 
who would give me a cordial welcome, I well knew 
that in doing this I put myself entirely in their power ; 
but conceiving it to be of essential service to our 
Saviour's cause that I should venture my life among 
them, and endeavour to become better acquainted with 
their nature, I turned simply to Him and said, ' I will go 
with them in Thy name. If they kill me, my work on 
earth is done, and I shall live with Thee ; but if they 
spare my life, I will firmly believe that it is Thy will that 
they should hear and believe the Gospel.' 

" The pilot and a sailor, who put me ashore, remained 
in the boat, and pushed off a little way from the land 
to see what would become of me. I was immediately 
surrounded, and everyone seemed anxious to show me 
his family. I gave every boy two fish-hooks, and every 
woman two or three sewing needles ; and after con- 
versing about two hours, left them, with a promise of 
being soon with them again. In the afternoon I re- 
turned with the pilot, who wished to trade with them. 
I begged them to remain in this place during the night, 
but not to steal anything from our people, and showed 
the danger of doing this. They said, ' The Europeans 
steal also.' I answered, ' If they do so, let me know, and 
they shall be punished.' I seized every opportunity to 


say something about the Saviour, to which they listened 
with great attention. I then invited them to visit me 
next morning, and took leave. 

" Next morning, accordingly, eighteen Esquimaux 
came in their boats. I went out to sea to meet them, 
and as the French Captain was frightened at the sight 
of such a crowd, I only allowed six of them to come 
ashore with me, and directed the others to land some- 
where else I then got into a boat and went 

with them again to their families, who received me as 
before, with the greatest show of kindness. In the 
evening three French and one English boat arrived 
full of Esquimaux. The men came immediately to see 
me, and requested I would visit them in their tents. I 
read to them a letter written by the missionary John 
Beck, in the name of the Greenlanders, and as I spoke 
to them of the Saviour's death they appeared struck 
with terror — supposing that they were being upbraided 
for some of their former murders. On which I showed 
them that he was a great friend to mankind — but they 
had no understanding of spiritual things. 

" To my astonishment I spoke to them with much 
more ease than I supposed I could have done, and they 
expressed great affection for me, insisting always upon 
my being present at all their trading transactions with 
the sailors, to adjust matters between them, ' for,' said 
they, 'you are our friend !' When retiring, they entreated 
me to come again and bring my brethren with me." 

Sir Hugh Palliser was greatly pleased with this 
successful beginning to the good work. He sent Haven 
to England in the Lark frigate, and gave him a letter 
of introduction to the Board of Trade, setting forth the 
importance of the work thus begun, and asking for their 
influence and assistance. This was readily granted, and 


the next year Haven, accompanied by three of the 
Moravian Brethren — Christian Drachardt, John Hill, 
and Andrew Schlozer — were sent out in a man-of-war 
to Newfoundland. Here they were fortified again by a 
Proclamation, reading as follows : — 

Procla,ina,tion of Governor in Referetice to Moravians, 


Whereas the Society of the Unitas Fratrura, under the 
protection of His Majesty have, from a pious zeal for pro- 
moting the knowledge of a true God and of the religion 
of our Beloved Lord the Saviour, Jesus Christ, amongst the 
Heathens, formed a resolution of establishing a mission of 
their brothers upon the Coast of Labrador ; for that purpose 
v»'e have appointed John Hill, Christian Drachart, Jens Haven 
and Christian Schlozer to effect this pious purpose ; and 
whereas the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty and the 
Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations have signified 
to me their entire approbation of an undertaking so commend- 
able in itself and that promises so great benefit to the publick ; 
These are, therefore, to certify all persons whom it may 
concern that the said John Hill, Christian Drachart, Jens 
Haven, and Christopher Schlozer, are under His Majesty's 
protection and all Officers Civil and Military, and all others 
His Majesty's subjects within my Government, are hereby 
strictly charged and required not to give any interruption or 
hindrance to the said John Hill, Christian Drachart, Jens 
Haven and Christian Schlozer, but to afford them every aid 
and friendly assistance for the success of their pious under- 
taking for the benefit of mankind in general and of His 
Majesty's subjects in particular. 

Given under my hand and seal, 30th April, 1765. 

Hugh Palliser. 
By Command of His Excellency, 
John Horsnaill. 


They were sent to Chateau in H.M.S. Niger under 
the command of Sir Thomas Adams, where they 
arrived on July 17th. They then separated, Haven 
and Schlozer going north in H.M. sloop Hope to look 
for the Eskimos, while Drachart and Hill remained 
with the Niger, The former were very unfortunate 
and did not meet any of the savages, as it proved 
to be customary for them to travel south at that 
season of the year on trading or marauding expedi- 

Drachardt and Hill were therefore more successful, 
and very soon hundreds of Eskimos appeared in the 
harbour. When the first kayaks approached the ship, 
they uttered the French words, " Tous cammarades, oui, 
hee ! " to which Drachardt replied in Greenlandish, 
using the common form of salutation, " We are friends " ; 
they at once responded with the counterpart, " We are 
also thy friends." Some of them had met Haven in 
the previous year and inquired affectionately for him, 
and all were delighted to find other white men who 
could speak their language. With reassuring speeches 
they invited Drachardt to visit their camp, to which he 
at once agreed. 

There, surrounded by over three hundred savages, 
he began to converse with them in their own language. 
He told them he had come from the Karalit in the 
Far East, of whom they had no knowledge, but who 
knew of them, and that those distant Karalits were 
very anxious that they should hear the very important 
news he had for them. 

He then began to tell of the Saviour and Creator of 
the world. Never had the great story been told to 
more unpromJsing listeners, and their comments and 
questions showed how little prepared they were to 


understand what was said to them. But their friendH- 
ness and pleasure were unmistakable. 

Very shortly Sir Hugh Palliser arrived at Chateau 
in the Guernsey^ and through the agency of the 
Brethren made that peace with the Eskimos which 
has been referred to in a previous chapter. 

Altogether, their intercourse was most successful? 
and when at the end of the season the Brethren took 
leave of their new friends, they were entreated to come 
again, which they readily promised to do. 

Unfortunately, several years were to elapse before 
their promise could be fulfilled, and in the interval 
several ruptures took place between the white fisher- 
men and the Eskimos. Two of these frays have been 
already noted — that of the American whalers com- 
plained of by Palliser, and the other at Darby's whaling 
station at Cape Charles. 

The cause of the delay was the difficulty the 
Moravians had in obtaining a grant of land and other 
privileges, which they deemed absolutely necessary for 
the successful conduct of their mission. They asked 
for 100,000 acres of land for each settlement they 
should make on the Labrador. 

This seemed to have aroused the suspicions of the 
Board of Trade, and even Palliser demurred. His pet 
scheme was that the Labrador coast should be kept 
strictly for the ship fishery from Great Britain, and 
grants of land were to be rigidly refused. He wanted 
sailors for the Navy, not settlers. But the Moravians 
were firm. With remarkable prescience they pointed 
out that it was absolutely necessary that they should 
be able to protect their flock from the contaminating 
influence of chance traders. Mr. James Hutton, the 
secretary of the London Society, declared "that it 


would be better to leave them ignorant of the Gospel 
than that by means of spirituous liquors, quarrels, brutal 
lusts, or bad neighbourhood, they should draw back 
from the Gospel. The only way to prevent quarrelling 
and violence would be to grant us absolute property in 
the land, upon which none should be allowed to stay 
except on good behaviour." 

Palliser and Hutton had a hot argument on the 
subject, " yet mixed with much cordiality and affection, 
Palliser's hand on Hutton's and Hutton's hand on 
Palliser's shoulder — shot for shot, friendly and warm, 
and without the least air of reserve." 

Finally, on May 3rd, 1769, the Moravian Brethren 
obtained their grant on their own terms. By its means 
their Missionaries, through many years of patient 
labour, unnoticed, unpraised, unrewarded on this earth, 
have gradually won the entire Eskimo population of 
the East Coast of Labrador to the Christian verity, and 
have undoubtedly been the means of preserving the 
race from extinction. 

This grant reads as follows : — 

Order in Council granting land to Moravians at 
Esquimaux Bay, 1 769. 

The 3RD day of May, 1769. 
Whereas there was this day read at the Board a Report from 
the Right Honorable the Lords of the Committee of Council 
for Plantation Affairs; Dated the 20th of last month, in the 
words following, viz : — 

"Your Majesty having been pleased by Your Order in 
Council of the 20th February last to refer unto this Committee 
a Representation from the Lords Commissioners for Trade 
and Plantations setting forth that they have had under their 


consideration a memorial presented by the Earl of Hills- 
borough, one of Your Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, 
on behalf of the Society of Unitas Fratrum, stating. That the 
said Society are desirous of prosecuting their intention of 
establishing a Mission on the Western Coast of Labrador for 
the purpose of civilizing and instructing the Savages called 
Esquimaux, inhabiting that Coast, in which undertaking the 
Memorialists represent that they have already taken some steps 
in consequence of encouragement received from the Board in 
1765; but that there is a necessity of having permission to 
occupy such a quantity of land on that Continent as may 
induce the Esquimaux to settle around the Missionaries ; that 
for this purpose they have pitched upon Esquimaux Bay and 
praying for a grant on that spot of one hundred thousand 
acres of land, or about twelve miles square ; with liberty in 
common of other British subjects of fishing and trading on 
that Coast, submitting at the same time the expediency of the 
Government erecting a blockhouse near the said intended 
settlement to protect the Esquimaux and their Missionaries 
from violence and encroachments of any disorderly people 
who might happen to come into the Bay. 

Whereupon the said Lords Commissioners represent that in 
the year 1765 the Society above mentioned with the approba- 
tion of the Government deputed four of their brethren to 
visit and explore the Coast of Labrador with a view to propa- 
gate the Gospel among the savage inhabitants ; those persons 
though unavoidably prevented from completing their design 
in the full extent did however by the assistance and under the 
direction of Mr. Palliser, Your Majesty's Governor in New- 
foundland, make some progress in the laudable work of their 
mission by establishing an intercourse and concluding a treaty 
with those savages. Whereupon in the year following, upon 
the favourable report made to Your Majesty's said Government 
touching the conduct and behaviour of their said Missionaries 
and in consequence of a petition of the said Society, the 
Board of Trade did in an humble representation to Your 


Majesty dated March 27th, 1766, submit, whether it might not 
be advisable to allow this Society to occupy such a district of 
land, not exceeding one hundred thousand acres, upon the 
Coast of Labrador as they should think best situated for the 
purposes of their Mission, from the opinion of their predeces- 
sors in office they see no reason to dissent and as they do in 
like manner with them think it advisable to encourage and 
promote a settlement of this sort, as well from the pious and 
laudable object of its institution, as from the public and com- 
mercial advantage to be derived from it ; they beg leave humbly 
to recommend to Your Majesty that the Society, or any persons 
deputed by the Society, for that purpose may be allowed by an 
order of Your Majesty in Council to occupy and possess during 
Your Majesty's pleasure one hundred thousand acres of land 
in Esquimaux Bay on the Coast of Labrador as they shall find 
most suitable to their purpose, and that Your Majesty's Gover- 
nor of Newfoundland may be directed by the said Order to 
give them all reasonable assistance and support in forming 
such establishment, and by a Proclamation to be published 
in Your Majesty's name signifying that this establishment is 
formed under Your Majesty's express authority and direction, 
to warn all persons from molesting and disturbing the said 
settlers ; and in case it shall appear to him to be necessary for 
their welfare and security, that one or more of the principal 
Missionaries shall be vested with the authority of Justice of 
the Peace, that he should in such case issue the proper com- 
mission for that purpose, conformable to the powers delegated 
to him by Your Majesty's Commission under the Great Seal. 
With respect to the matter of erecting a blockhouse near the 
said intended settlement for the defence of the Esquimaux 
and the Missionaries and for the general protection of the 
British Trade and Fishery, they do not think themselves justi- 
fied in advising Your Majesty to comply with a request that 
would very probably be attended with considerable public ex- 
pense, and for which there does not appear to be any im- 
mediate necessity ; but as they think it highly proper that 


reasonable and necessary measures should be taken for the 
security of those who shall establish themselves on this savage 
and uncivilized Coast, they would humbly recommend Your 
Majesty to direct, that the persons who shall engage in this 
settlement shall be furnished out of Your Majesty's Stores with 
fifty muskets and a proportionate quantity of ammunition 
which they consider may be sufficient for their personal security 
and defence. The Lords of the Committee in obedience to 
Your Majesty's said Order of reference this day took into 
their consideration the said representation and do humbly 
report to Your Majesty that they agree in opinion with what 
is above proposed by the Lords Commissioners for Trade and 

The Synod of the Moravian Church in London at 
once began to make plans for a permanent settlement. 
Before this could be done, however, it was necessary 
that a more extended reconnoitring expedition should 
be made. A vessel called the Jersey Packet was pur- 
chased, and a most fortunate choice of a captain made 
in the person of Francis Mugford. The history of the 
Moravian ships and their captains is one of the most re- 
markable in the records of navigation. For 137 years 
they have made an annual trip to this stormy, ice-beset, 
and still uncharted coast, but have not yet lost a vessel. 

Jens Haven, Christian Drachardt, and Stephen 
Jensen were placed in charge of this expedition. The 
vessel sailed on May 17th, 1770, and on June 24th 
arrived off Amitok Island near Nain. This was the 
nominal anniversary of Cabot's discover}^, but owing 
to the change in the calendar was in reality twelve 
days earlier. This is an important argument in the 
discussion of Cabot's land-fall. 

Proceeding northward they soon fell in wl'&s. the 
Eskimos, among whom they found an old acquaint- 


ance, Segulliak. Mikak and her husband Tuglavina 
were also in the neighbourhood, and shortly made 
their appearance. Mikak was arrayed in the gorgeous 
dress which had been presented to her in England, 
and had not forgotten the little English she had 
learned. By virtue of her larger experiences, or 
perhaps of her dress, Mikak had gained considerable 
authority over her tribe as well as her husband, and 
freely exercised it on behalf of the Missionaries.^ 

She had told her people that the Brethren intended 
to live among them, and when they confirmed her 
report, the Eskimos gave vent to extraordinary ex- 
pressions of joy. 

Having selected the locality now known as Nain 
for their first settlement, they felt it but right that 
they should obtain the consent of the Eskimos to 
their appropriation of it. The matter was explained 
with some difficulty, and a gift made to each family. 
A document was then drawn up recording the trans- 
action, and the principal Eskimos were required to 
make a mark upon it opposite their names, to signify 
their acceptance of the bargain. 

A piece of ground was then chosen and marked at 
the four corners by stones, bearing the inscription, 
"G. Ill, 1770, and U. F., 1770." 

Sir Hugh Palliser had given Mikak a very spacious 
tent ; this was erected, and from its shelter the 
venerable Missionary Drachardt preached his first 
sermon to an assemblage of about 800 people. All 
listened with great attention, and when Mikak and 
Tuglavina spoke in support of the statements made 
by Drachardt, they were all visibly affected. The 

^ A portion of Mikak's famous dress was still in the possession of her 
grandson, Joseph Palliser, in 1870. 


remembrance of the murders they had committed 
weighed heavily on their minds, and they greatly 
feared that the Missionaries would take away the 
boats they had stolen on their marauding expeditions. 

At length the time came for the Missionaries' depart- 
ure. Mikak sent two white fox skins to the Dowager 
Princess of Wales, a black fox to the Duke of 
Gloucester, and two red ones to Sir Hugh Palliser. 
The heads of the tribes gave many assurances that 
they would live in peace with the Europeans, and 
with many promises of a return in the following year 
the Brethren set sail for England. 

The deepest consideration was given to every detail 
of the preparation for the new colony, and their plans 
were wisely and truly laid. The company chosen for 
the work were Jens Haven and his newly-married wife, 
an Englishwoman ; Christian Drachardt, the old Green- 
land Missionary who desired only to end his days in 
labouring for the conversion of the Eskimos ; Chris- 
topher Braasen, a physician and surgeon, accompanied 
by his wife ; John Schneider and his wife ; Stephen 
Jensen, who was to take charge of the trade ; and six 
single Brethren. 

The frame of a house was prepared, all ready to 
set up, and a large vessel, the Amity, purchased to 
carry the party and their stores to the chosen spot. 

On the eve of their departure the old church in 
Fetter Lane was the scene of a memorable gathering 
of Brethren and their sympathizers, when the work 
and the workers were commended to the care and 
protection of the Almighty. 

On May 8th, 1771, the Amity, commanded by 
Captain Mugford, set sail, but did not arrive at her 
destination until August 8th, They immediately began 


to set up their house, and by great exertions had it 
completed on September 22nd. On the 24th the 
Amity sailed on her return voyage, leaving the little 
colony fairly comfortably settled for the winter. 

Mikak and Tuglavina were again present and greatly 
assisted the Missionaries, but nevertheless they felt that 
their position was often a very dangerous one, requiring 
them to be continually on their guard, " with a tool in 
one hand and a weapon in the other." The aged Mis- 
sionary, Drachardt, in the meanwhile devoted himself to 
preaching and speaking to the Eskimos, endeavouring 
to awaken in them some idea of the great truths of the 
Christian religion. 

In 1772 the ship which was to take out supplies to the 
settlement first made a fishing voyage to the Banks, in 
an endeavour to reduce the cost of the adventure. But 
this delayed her so much that she only reached Nain 
at the end of October. At that time the Brethren had 
despaired of receiving any succour that season, and were 
reduced to gathering berries for their sustenance. 

The next year Sir M. Shuldham, Governor of New- 
foundland, sent Lieut. Roger Curtis to visit the 
Brethren's settlement. His report is most interesting. 
It is full of praise for the methods of the Brethren, and 
wonder at the work already accomplished. In temporal 
things he found that they had built a substantial living 
house and store-house, had erected a saw-mill, and laid 
out a garden which provided them with salads and 
some vegetables. 

The work of proselytizing was naturally of slow 
growth, and the Eskimos then showed but little indica- 
tion of understanding the teaching of the Brethren, 
but they had made a good beginning in that they had 
already won their hearts. The following extracts from 


Curtis's report are so vivid that it were a pity not to 
quote them. Of the Missionaries he writes : — 

" Shielded by virtue, they find the protection of arms 
unnecessary. None of the Eskimos presume to come 
within the palisades without permission. They have 
been told that they must not, and obey with the most 
satisfied and patient submission. In their contro- 
versies they appeal to the Missionaries. Sloth begins 
to be discountenanced among them, and labour, which 
was heretofore thought of with detestation, is now 
practised with applause. Thus it is that by means 
of this laudable Society, a herd of barbarous savages 
are in a fair way to become useful subjects, and the 
adventurers on the coast will prosecute their business 
in greater security." 

In the following year jurisdiction over the coast of 
Labrador was transferred from Newfoundland to the 
Province of Quebec, during which regime no enquiry 
into the work of the Missions seems to have been 

The task assumed by the Moravian Missionaries was 
most difficult and complex. How to reach the souls 
of this savage people, to teach them the simplest Chris- 
tian truths, and to explain and to inculcate almost 
every principle of morality, was a problem which exer- 
cised all their wisdom and patience. Then there was 
the economic question, how to provide for the little 
colonies that gathered around them, and how to teach 
the Eskimos to provide for themselves. Added to these 
was the great difficulty in keeping the spiritual apart 
from the temporal. The Eskimos soon saw what was 
required of them, and the desire for European goods 
increasing in proportion to the supply, there was 


great temptation to pretend to conversion and reforma- 

The Missionaries had to be constantly on guard 
against being deceived by their protestations. Long 
periods of probation v/ere necessary before they could 
be certain that the applicants were genuinely con- 

It was not until 1776 that they finally adjudged a 
man named Kingminguse to be worthy of baptism. 
The ceremony was made as solemn and impressive as 
possible, and both candidate and congregation were 
much affected, and indeed quite overpowered. 

A neighbour of Kingminguse at once professed his 
anxiety to receive baptism also ; but another man 
voiced the more general feeling when he declared 
that he too believed very much, but what he wanted at 
present was a knife. 

Kingminguse was christened by the name of Peter, 
and for a long time remained faithful to his vows, but 
in 1789 he relapsed after a visit to the south. He took 
to himself two or three wives, and when expostulated 
with, declared that he required them to " man " his boat. 
He finally left the Moravian settlement and went south, 
and his ultimate fate is unknown. 

The Brethren soon saw that one settlement would 
not be sufficient for them to carry on their work to the 
best advantage. 

The Eskimos were in the habit of roving from place 
to place on the coast, now north, now south, and from 
the outer fringe of islands in the pursuit of seals to the 
interior, where they sought caribou and salmon. It was 
impossible for the Missionaries to follow them every- 
where, although they attempted to do so, and wherever 
the Eskimos got out of touch, it was found that they 


returned to their old habits and superstitions. For 
these reasons other centres were established. A second 
grant was obtained from the Privy Council in 1775, 
which resulted in the founding of the settlement at 
Okak, about 1 50 miles north of Nain ; and a third 
grant in 1781, when the Mission of Hopedale was 
started about 150 miles south of Nain, 

Hitherto, the Missionaries in their endeavour to con- 
vert the Eskimos had but to combat the superstitions 
and habits of heathendom, but from now on their 
anxieties and labours were greatly increased by the 
gradual advance from the south of fishermen and 
traders — French Canadians, West Countrymen, Ameri- 
cans and Newfoundlanders. For the sake of their 
trade the poor Eskimos were seduced with rum, 
tobacco, and useless European goods. The temptation 
to travel south in the summer was thus greatly in- 
creased. The rule of the white trader was not so rigid 
as that of the Moravians, and the goods he offered in 
barter were more attractive. 

Many of the most promising members of the Mora- 
vians' congregations falling under this temptation re- 
lapsed into their original barbarism, further darkened 
by the vices of the white race. 

The Brethren did their best to prevent this migration 
south, and used, for them, quite bitter words on the 
harmful influence of the white traders. For the first 
fifteen years of the Mission, George Cartwright was the 
principal trader on the coast, who it may be remem- 
bered also claimed the credit of having civilized the 
Eskimos. Of the Moravians, Cartwright said with a 
sneer that he believed it was for the purpose of trade 
they had come, and not to convert the heathen. 

Among the unfortunate ones were Mikak and Tug- 


lavina. After being largely instrumental in the peace- 
ful establishment of the Missionaries and apparently 
sincere converts, they unhappily made a voyage south 
in 1783, when all their vows were forgotten. Poor 
Mikak did not return to Nain until 1795, but a few days 
before her death. She sent for the Missionaries and 
expressed her deep sorrow for her misspent life and 
broken promises, and received such comfort as was 
possible. The vicissitudes of her life were certainly 
extraordinary, and her experiences far beyond those of 
any of her nation before and perhaps since. Tuglavina 
was a man of very great influence among his people, 
and after his relapse became a great thorn in the sides 
of the Missionaries, inducing many of the better dis- 
posed of the Eskimos to go south and to leave their 
congregation. He was known to have committed 
several murders, and to have instigated several more ; in 
short, his life was evil even for an Eskimo. But even in 
his dark and desperate nature the seeds of the Mora- 
vians' teaching still lingered. About the time of 
Mikak's death he also returned to Nain, and begged 
again to be taken into the congregation. So far as 
could be seen he was sincerely repentant and died 
in 1799 in the odour of sanctity. "A singular object," 
says the Missionary diary, " of the mercy of the 
Saviour, who followed him through all his perverse and 
wicked ways with infinite patience and long suffering, 
until at last He drew him to Himself" 

There are few instances of greater self-sacrifice than 
the lives of the Moravian Missionaries on the Labrador. 
Yet there has never been any lack of volunteers anxious 
to follow the example of Jens Haven. He, good man, 
remained at his post until the infirmities of old age 
compelled him to give up. He felt that if he remained 



he would become a burden to the little colony of Mis- 
sionaries, and a hindrance rather than a help to the 
work, whose advancement he so greatly desired, and he 
therefore asked to be relieved. He was accordingly 
retired to Herrnhut in 1786, after thirty years' service 
in the work to which he had devoted himself. There 
he spent his declining years happily and peacefully, 
dying in 1794. 

Labrador owes much to his devotion, piety, and 
wisdom. It was at his instigation that the work was 
begun, and he was the principal agent in carrying it on 
through the trying and almost unproductive early years. 
But for him the energies of the Moravian Church might 
not have been turned to the requirements of the heathen 
Eskimos on the Labrador, in which case, it is more than 
probable, the race would have been long ago extinct. 

At the beginning of the eighteenth century it was 
estimated that there were 30,000 Eskimos in Labrador, 
but I am inclined to think the number greatly over- 
estimated. The early French settlers certainly saw 
hundreds together in the Straits of Belle Isle at that 
period, and therefore surmised that the whole coast was 
peopled in like manner. But we have learned that the 
southern journey each summer was an invariable cus- 
tom, so that the numbers seen by the French were 
probably the whole population from Hamilton Inlet 
south. The four hundred Eskimos with whom Palliser 
made peace at Chateau in 1764 w^ere no doubt the 
remnants of the southern tribes. The Moravian Bre- 
thren estimated that there were about 3000 Eskimos 
on the coast at the beginning of their administrations. 
This did not include those living within Hudson's 
Straits, where they were thought to be in greater num- 
bers than on the east coast. 


At the close of the eighteenth century, after thirty 
years' of administration, the number of Eskimos living 
on the Moravians' settlements were as follows : — 

At Nain 63 persons, of whom 30 professed Christianity. 

„ Hopedale 51 „ „ 33 »> »> 

„ Okak 48 „ „ 22 „ „ 

This apparently small result for so many years of 
devoted teaching shows the magnitude and difficulty of 
the task. At this period twenty-six Missionaries were 
employed in the work. The Amity, which conveyed 
the first colony of Moravians to Labrador, continued to 
make yearly trips without particular adventures under 
the command of Captain Francis Mugford. In July, 
1777, a sloop called the Good Intent was purchased, and 
continued in service until 1780. This vessel was cap- 
tured by the French on her homeward voyage in 1778, 
but was retaken by an English cruiser. This event 
caused the application to be made for a passport from 
the French and Americans, which was readily given. 
The latter document was furnished by Benjamin 
Franklin, then minister from the United States at 
the Court of France. It is dated April nth, 1779, and 
is as follows : — 

" To all Captains and Commanders of Vessels of 
War, Privateers, and Letters of Marque belonging to 
the United States Government of America. 

" Gentlemen, — The Religious society commonly called 
Moravian Brethren, having established a Mission on the 
coast of Labrador for the conversion of the savages 
there to the Christian religion, which has already had 
good effects in turning them from their ancient practices 
of surprising and plundering and murdering the white 
people, Americans and Furopeans, who for the purposes 


of trade or fishery happened to come to the coast, and 
persuading them to lead a new life of honest industry, 
and to treat strangers with humanity and kindness, 

" And it being necessary for the support of this useful 
Mission, that a small vessel should go there every year 
to furnish supplies and necessaries for the Missionaries 
and their converts, which vessel for the present year is 
a sloop of about seventy tons called the Good Intent, 
whereof is master Captain Francis Mugford, 

" This is to request you that if the said vessel should 
happen to fall into your hands you would not suffer her 
to be plundered or hindered in her voyage, but on the 
contrary would afford her any assistance she may stand 
in need of: wherein I am confident your conduct will 
be approved by the Congress and your owners." 

From 1780 to 1786 the Amity was again in com- 
Mission, but in 1787 she was replaced by the first 
Harmony, a vessel of 133 tons built especially for the 
Mission, which remained in service until 1802. 

In 1782 Captain Mugford vv^as succeeded by Captain 
James Fraser. 

Amongst the earliest works undertaken by the 
Eskimo Brethren was the translation of the Scriptures 
into the Eskimo language. As the translations were 
finished they were printed in England and returned for 
the use of the little congregations. 

Schools were established very early and were always 
most successful. Letters from Hopedale in 1797 state 
that two Englishmen had come to settle near them, and 
that one, William Watson, had arrived at their settlement 
on January 27th, seeking to obtain supplies from them. 
Seven other Europeans were reported in the neighbour- 
hood, two of them having married Eskimo women. A 
curious phenomenon was observed in the heavens on 


three occasions during the winter of 1799. It consisted 
of a vast quantity of inflammable matter in the air 
which seemed to pour itself towards the earth in im- 
mense fiery rays and balls. Probably some remarkable 
variety of the aurora. 



THE Moravian Brethren have often been very 
harshly criticized because of the trade they car- 
ried on in connection with their Missions on the 

A study of the problems with which they were 
confronted, however, must convince any unprejudiced 
person of the injustice of these animadversions. 

Trading was very unwillingly entered into. In the 
very beginning, when Erhardt planned his disastrous 
voyage, Count Zinzendorf strongly objected to trading 
in the name of the Brethren ; and consequently the 
commercial part of that venture was undertaken by the 
London firm, Messrs. Nisbet, Grace, and Bell. When, 
however, permanent establishments were about to be 
made, it became apparent that trade in some sort would 
have to be carried on. Hutton's reasons for this 
decision have already been given in the account of the 
negotiations with the Board of Trade. The icy fast- 
nesses of Labrador were already being invaded by the 
trader. From the beginning of the eighteenth century 
the southern Eskimo tribes had been in the habit of 
trading with the French fishermen and settlers in the 
Straits of Belle Isle ; and the desire for European 
goods, boats, utensils, weapons, food, and clothes v/as 
already intense and must be gratified by fair means 



or foul — generally the latter. We have already heard 
of continual conflicts arising out of trading disputes, 
always in the end resulting in the plunder and slaughter 
cf the Eskimos. The practices of the traders of that 
day were not humanitarian, and no idea of mutual 
benefit entered into their calculations when trading 
with the Eskimos. To obtain their goods at the 
least possible expense was their sole aim, and rum and 
tobacco soon became the chief articles given in exchange. 
To preserve their flock from this contaminating in- 
fluence was one of the greatest cares of the Brethren, 
and to obviate any necessity for the intercourse their 
own trade was established. It has also been pointed out 
that the Eskimos were nomads, and if they were to be 
civilized and instructed it was necessary for an attractive 
central depot to be made where they could be gradually 
collected and kept within touch. It is certain that had 
not the Brethren established a trade for the benefit of 
the Eskimo as well as for the support of the Mission, 
their labours would have ended long ago. The 
northern Eskimos would have flocked south, seeking 
the wonderful new implements and food, and would 
have shared the fate of the numerous tribes that once 
inhabited the southern coast, but have been now long 

The trading interests have always been separated 
as far as possible from the spiritual work. A Society 
connected with the Moravian Church, known as the 
" Brethrens' Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel 
Among the Heathen," generally called the " London 
Association," under the support of the Labrador Mission, 
and a certain number of the members of this Society, 
who were called the " Ship's Company," assumed the 
trading enterprise, and continued to have the manage- 


ment of it until 1797. The terms upon which the 
company managed the business have not been ascer- 

After 1797, the " Society for the Furtherance of the 
Gospel " took over the management of the trade. / 

With all the unfavourable criticism this practice hss 
caused, no one has yet charged the Society as a whole, 
or any member of it, with having traded for their 
personal advantage. The whole proceeds have been 
devoted to the upkeep of the Mission, and have but 
seldom been more than sufficient to defray the heavy 
expenses incurred. On a few occasions it is reported 
that the London Association had a surplus, which they 
paid over to the General Synod for the benefit of the 
Missions in general. 

It has been no easy task for the Brethren to prevent 
the trade from interfering with their spiritual work, and 
it has often been the occasion of considerable dis- 
satisfaction and jealousy among the Eskimos. To 
maintain the trade on business principles, so that 
industry and straight dealing should meet their due 
reward, necessitated, on the other hand, a seeming hard- 
ness to the lazy and careless, which the Eskimos 
thought quite incompatible with the lessons of love and 
pity taught by the spiritual end of the enterprise. 

Every year since the inception of their Missions 
the Moravian Brethren have published a report of 
their work, carried on, not only in Labrador, but in 
all parts of world. Letters from Missionaries, or por- 
tions of their diaries, accompany each annual report, 
and in the case of Labrador form a consecutive history 
of the country. As is to be expected, their evangelical 
work is their first concern and constitutes the bulk of 
their reports, but in addition one finds invaluable 


records of climatic conditions, of the supply of seals, 
whales, codfish, etc., on the coast, caribou and fur- 
bearing animals in the interior, and the consequent 
effect on the Eskimos. 

The following account of the work of the Brethren 
is taken mainly from these reports. 

The beginning of the nineteenth century found the 
Moravian Missionaries firmly established on the northern 
coast of Labrador, but their efforts at converting the 
Eskimos had not met with marked success. The 
superstitions of long ages were not easily rooted out 
nor the customs easy to change, seeing that, how- 
ever repugnant they were to civilized and Christian 
ideas, many of them were still not unsuited to the 
Eskimo manner of life. Their lack of success is a 
continual plaint in the Missionaries diaries ; every back- 
slider is wept over, and every convert joyfully acclaimed. 
It was probably a result of the teaching of the children 
in schools for nearly a generation that the first real 
spiritual wakening became general. In 1801 it is 
reported that many could read tolerably well, and the 
first book printed in the Eskimo language, a history of 
the Passion Week, was eagerly studied and read aloud 
in their homes. Their love of music and singing was 
very early noticed, and the singing of hymns became a 
regular practice and delight to them. Later on they 
were taught to play on instruments of various kinds, 
and their musical capacity has been encouraged until 
now they have both a brass and a string band which 
perform quite acceptably. 

It was in 1804-5 that the Missionaries first wrote 
cheerfully of the spiritual condition of their flock. 
One writes : " Thus the many prayers offered up and 
tears shed by our brethren and sisters in Labrador, on 


account of the conversion of the Eskimo nation, begin 
after thirty-four years to show their fruit." It was at 
Hopedale that this encouraging condition of affairs 
was first observed. "There," the Missionaries write, 
" is at present a small congregation of believing 
Eskimos, blooming like a beautiful rose." A some- 
what unhappy choice of a simile. Many remarkable 
instances of conversions are given, often of those 
who had previously been the most opposed to the 
teaching of the Brethren and most wedded to their 
barbarous habits and superstitions. The effect of con- 
version upon a noted Eskimo sorcerer is thus described : 
" The ferocious and terrific countenance of this late 
monster of iniquity, which made one tremble at his 
appearance, is now converted into a mild and gentle 
aspect ; the savage bear has become a gentle lamb." 
The children were also remarkably affected, and at- 
tended the schools with the greatest assiduity and 
interest. The difficulty of providing for their con- 
gregations, or rather of inculcating habits of industry 
and economy so that the Eskimos could provide for 
themselves, often prevented the heathen Eskimo from 
joining them. A number of them came from. Nackvak 
to Okak at this time and professed a willingness to be 
taught, but pointed out to the Missionaries that if they 
left their own country they would starve. The prob- 
ability of which the Brethren could not deny. 

The plurality of wives, which was a custom of the 
Eskimos founded on economic principles, was a most 
difficult problem for the Brethren. Apparently they 
did not in every case at once insist upon its abandon- 
ment, for an instance is recorded about this time of 
the death of the two wives of one of their converts 
within a very few hours of each other. The women 


had not formally joined their congregation, but it was 
hoped had not heard the Gospel in vain. There was a 
curious sequel to the death of these two women. In 
the neighbourhood was an Angekok, or sorcerer, who 
was greatly feared by the Eskimos. In order to in- 
crease his importance, he gave out that he had caused 
their deaths — a rash boast, which at once caused him 
to be attacked and killed by their husband. He richly 
deserved his fate, for a short time before, when his wife 
had died, he had barbarously murdered an orphan child 
in some sort of heathen rite. 

But, it is feared, the conversions were yet often very 
superficial. A serious illness, an accident, or any mis- 
fortune was as likely to turn converts back to their 
heathenish practices as it was in the first instance to 
bring them under the guidance of the Brethren. One 
old man, Thomas, at whose conversion there had been 
great rejoicing, being taken ill and suffering great pain, 
abjured all his vows and sought relief in barbarous 
incantations. " Indeed, during all last winter, his be- 
haviour was very oppressive to his whole family, and 
particularly to his two zuives, who are both communicants 
and very worthy women" Which is quite an illuminating 
little story. Plurality of wives is still a custom among 
the heathen Eskimos of the far north, and, in the 
opinion of recent travellers, cannot well be avoided. 
(Voyage of the s.s. Neptune, 1907.) 

In the early part of the century we hear first of the 
advance of the white man upon the Moravian precincts. 
Hitherto the Brethren had been occupied in preventing 
their flock from going south, but now the dangerous and 
contaminating white man were beginning to come to 
them. The furriers were the pioneers ; the genuine 
fishermen did not arrive until many years later. They 


seemed to have been independent men, not working for 
the Hudson Bay Company, or any particular mercantile 
concern. In many instances they married Eskimo 
women, and settled permanently in the country, form- 
ing the nucleus of the present white or mixed breed 

In 1802 the first Harmony was sold, and was replaced 
by the brig Resolution, which continued in service until 
1808. This vessel had an adventurous voyage back to 
England in 1804, being twice pursued by a French 
frigate, and only escaping by reason of the boisterous 
weather which prevailed. European wars were naturally 
of the greatest interest to the exiled Brethren, and 
many are the prayers which went up from Labrador 
that England should be spared from the invader. It is 
amusing to find them congratulating themselves that 
they live " on this barren coast and in the midst of 
a savage nation in perfect peace and safety, and 
experience none of those miseries which many of 
the poor inhabitants of Europe suffer during the 
war " ; and adding, " We wish your southern neigh- 
bours, the French, were more like our Eskimos in 

During all these early years the Eskimos, and in a 
lesser degree the Brethren themselves, seemed to be 
living on the verge of starvation. Their food supply 
was most precarious. Some years they had a super- 
abundance of seals, and in others the quantity taken 
would be entirely inadequate to their requirements. 
The conditions of the ice seemed to have more to 
do with the success of this fishery than anything 

The seals seemed to be always there, but often could 
not be taken. In 1806 the Brethren introduced seal 


nets, which were in use on the southern parts of the 
coast, and by this means the supply was made more 
regular. The Eskimos for a long time could not be 
taught to catch codfish during the summer for their 
winter sustenance, by which means starvation could 
always have been avoided. They did not value the 
codfish as food, and apparently the stronger seal flesh 
was a necessity to their well being. For a number of 
years the capture of from three to five whales, and the 
finding of several more dead, upon the coast is reported 
each season, but after 1830 there is very seldom any 
mention of their having been taken or found. It would 
be interesting to know what species of whale the 
Eskimos could have killed from their kayaks, — pre- 
sumably some of the smaller varieties. The dead 
whales were no doubt drowned by being caught on the 
shore side of immense fields of ice, which gave them no 
opportunities for blowing. 

When seals and whales were insufficient to support 
them the Eskimos went in the spring to the trout pools, 
where they were generally able to procure an abundant 
supply of this fish ; but these often failed, and accounts 
are given of whole families starving to death in these 
localities. They also hunted caribou every spring, but 
again were often unsuccessful. In some winters they 
were able to take thousands of partridges, but in others 
not a bird was seen. When the Eskimos were finally 
induced to give some attention to the catching of 
codfish, it was the practice of the Brethren to buy from 
them such codfish as they caught in the summer, and 
sell it to them again in the winter or spring when they 
were most in want. 

On January 21st, 1809, and for some days after, 
severe shocks of earthquake were felt, and were said to 


have been general all down the coast. The extra- 
ordinarily rapid rise of the land, amounting in some 
places to ten or fifteen feet within the memory of 
fishermen still going to the Labrador, would lead one 
to suppose that earthquakes were of common occur- 
rence. No damage or noticeable disturbance has ever 
been recorded, however.^ 

The Preface to Volume V of the Moravian Reports, 
1 8 10-13, contains the following information : — 

" The vessel annually sent to the coast of Labrador 
to convey provisions and keep up communication with 
the Moravian Missionaries there, returns with skins, 
bone, and oil, the sale of which in late years has almost 
covered the expense of the voyage. In each settlement 
a Brother, who understands the Eskimo language well, 
is appointed to receive such goods as they bring in 
barter for useful articles of various kinds, but the 
Missionaries never go out to trade, which would inter- 
fere too much with their proper calling." 

In 181 1 the ship's homeward cargo consisted of 100 
barrels of seal oil, 2000 seal skins, 2750 fox skins, the 
value of which may have been $25,000 or more. This 
is the only occasion in which the ship's cargo is given 
in detail. 

At the end of 18 10, the number of Eskimos living at 
Hopedale was 145, at Nain 115, and at Okak 233. In 
this year, it is noted, a remarkable quantity of codfish 
visited the shores. 

In 181 1, the Mission ship Jemima did not reach 
Hopedale until September 9th, the coast being blocked 

■' It is stated by a man who has been fishing at Holton Harbour for 
thirty or forty years, that the spot where he used to moor his vessel is now 
out of water. 


with ice until within a few days of her arrival. In 
the next year, by way of contrast, she arrived on 
July 5th, and was back in London on September 24th, 

The Brethren Kohlmeister and Kmoch made a 
boat voyage to Ungava Bay in 181 1 in order to 
ascertain the number of Eskimos living there, and 
the possibility of starting another station for their 
benefit. A number of tribes were met with who re- 
ceived the Missionaries well, and begged them to 
return and settle, but it was recognized that the district 
lay within the territory of the Hudson Bay Company, 
whose permission would have to be obtained before a 
station could be started. Brother Kohlmeister heard 
two or three years afterwards that about three hundred 
Eskimos assembled at the Koksoak river the next 
summer expecting him to return, which he was never 
able to do. 

The year 18 16 was a very remarkable one. The 
Reports say : — 

" As in almost every part of Europe, so in Labrador, 
the elements seem to have undergone some sort of 
revolution during the course of the last summer. The 
ships arrived in the drift ice on July i6th, when two 
hundred miles from the Labrador coast. Captain 
Eraser attempted to get in first at Hopedale, then at 
Nain, and finally at Okak, which he did not succeed in 
reaching before August 20th. The very next day the 
whole coast as far as the eye could see was choked up 
with ice. Captain Eraser was unable to get to Nain 
until September 22nd, and left there on October 22nd 
for Hopedale; but it came on to blow exceedingly hard, 
with an immense fall of snow, and the ship was in 
imminent danger of being driven on the rocks. Seeing 
that every attempt to reach Hopedale was in vain. 


Captain Fraser was at last forced to bear away for 

This was the first occasion since the founding of the 
Mission that the ship had failed to visit all their 
stations. In 1817 the same conditions prevailed. 
Captain Fraser reported : — 

" That though for three years past they have met 
with an unusual quantity of ice on the coast of 
Labrador, yet in no year since the beginning of the 
Mission has it appeared so dreadfully on the increase. 
The colour of this year's ice was different to that usually 
seen, and the size of the ice mountains and thickness of 
the fields immense, with sandstone embedded in them. 
As a great part of the coast of Greenland, which has 
been for centuries choked up with ice apparently 
immovable, has by some revolution been cleared, this 
may perhaps account for the great quantity alluded to." 

The Brethren note from Hopedale that the coast was 
beset with ice as far as the eye could see on August 7th, 
and from Okak they write : " The ice did not leave our 
bay until July 28th, which is considerably later than has 
been known since the beginning of the Mission." 

These peculiar ice conditions on the Labrador and 
Greenland coasts caused a great deal of discussion in 
scientific circles at that period. In spite of the 
apparently unfavourable season, the Eskimos were well 
supplied with food, having taken considerably above 
the average number of seals. 

In the following year the Jemima arrived at Hope- 
dale on August 4th, after a slow but favourable passage, 
without meeting any ice at all By the middle of June 
all ice and snow had disappeared at Hopedale, and 
garden work was in good swing. 


The new ship Harmony, the second of that name, 
started on her long career in 18 19. 

We learn from the report of that year that the 
" Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel " had been 
enabled, by means of the barter trade, to take the 
whole charge of the maintenance of the Labrador 
Missions off the hands of the Synodal Committee, and 
likewise on some occasions to contribute to the wants 
of other Missions. 

In the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the 
Mission at Nain, the number of Eskimos living at the 
various stations was : At Hopedale 149, Nain 168, and 
Okak 255, marking a slow but steady progress in the 
work of evangelization. 

The spirit which animated the Missionaries cannot be 
better indicated than by the following letter written by 
Brother Schmittman from Nain in 18 19: — 

" It seems that I am not to see you again in this world, 
for you will hear that on July 12th last I was seized 
with a paralytic stroke, by which, no doubt, God would 
give me to understand that I should not return to 
Europe, as was intended, but that He intended to call 
me from hence and perhaps soon into His everlasting 
kingdom. This would be quite according to my heart's 
desire, and I shall gladly lay down my mortal body to 
rest near the grave of my dear first wife and children, 
and those of my Eskimo brethren and sisters, whom I 
have now had the favour to serve for thirty-eight years." 

It was not, however, until five years later that this 
faithful servant of the Lord was finally called to rest, 
his last years being busily employed in translating 
portions of Scripture, hymns, etc., into the Eskimo 


In most cases the Brethren spend the whole active 
portion of their lives on the coast. They go out there 
as young men, wives are sent out to them when they 
wish to marry, and strangely enough these unions seem 
to have been invariably happy. Their children, when 
they survive the rigorous climate, are sent home to 
school, and often never see their parents again. Their 
pay begins at ;£'ii a year for an unmarried Missionary, 
and increases, if they marry, to £2^, out of which they 
have to find their clothes, breakfasts, and small 
necessaries ; they collect no fees. Truly it cannot be 
for any reward on this earth that they have laboured, 
and still labour, in one of the most rigorous climates of 
the world, cut off from all that seems to make life worth 
living, without public recognition and the consequent 
feeling that their good actions are known and appre- 
ciated. Self-abnegation can hardly go further ; and 
nothing but the strongest sense of duty and the deepest 
piety can have enabled them one after the other, for 
one hundred and thirty-seven years, to carry on their 
great and noble work on the Labrador. 

The fiftieth anniversary of the settlement at Nain 
was very appropriately celebrated by the visit paid 
them by Captain William Martin in H.M.S. Clinkej; 
acting under instructions from Sir Charles Hamilton, 
Governor of Newfoundland, this being the first official 
visit or investigation in any shape or form made by 
the Government since 1773. Captain Martin appears 
to have been extremely interested in all that he saw, 
and to have expressed his entire satisfaction and 
approval of the work accomplished by the Brethren. 
They, on their part, were highly pleased and flattered 
at the visit ; and as for the Eskimos their wonder and 
delight knew no bounds. Captain Martin entertained 


them on board his ship, regaling them with peas and 
biscuits, fired off the ship's guns, and at night displayed 
a number of blue lights for their amusement. Sir 
Charles Hamilton was very much interested in the 
aboriginal races of the countries under his command. 
At this time Mary March, one of the last of the un- 
fortunate Beothuks, was brought to St. John's, and 
greater efforts were made to communicate with and 
save the remnants of that race, alas ! too late to be of 
any avail. 

Captain Martin's voyage seems to have been largely 
for the purpose of investigating the conditions of the 
Indian races, for we find that in this same voyage he 
went to the head of Hamilton Inlet (which he named 
after Sir C. Hamilton), and from thence ascended the 
river for some fifty miles for the purpose of meeting 
with the Indians resorting there. (See page 448.) 

A notable incident in 1822 was the arrival of the 
first American fishing vessel at Hopedale, but the 
name of this pioneer is unfortunately not given. Upon 
receipt of Captain Martin's report of his visit to the 
Moravian settlements. Sir Charles Hamilton forwarded 
to the Brethren a grant of land for their fourth settle- 
ment. An Order in Council had been passed on 
May 13th, 181 8, authorizing the grant, but for some 
reason or other it had not been issued. The pro- 
clamation accompanying the grant reads in part as 
follows : — 

" Whereas His Royal Highness the Prince Regent in 
Council, May 13th, 18 18, was graciously pleased to 
authorize that every facility should be given to the 
Moravians in Labrador for extending the beneficial 
influence which they have had upon the character of the 
Native Indians and for spreading still further the bene- 


fits of the Gospel, and to that end to permit and allow 
the Society of the Unitas Fratrum to form a fourth 
settlement on the eastern coast of Labrador, and to 
occupy during His Majesty's pleasure that part of the 
said coast to the north of Okak, which comprehending 
the bays of Kangershutsoak and Saglek reached the 
59th degree of North Latitude, provided that the 
sports chosen by the said society for its settlement 
may be such as in no way to interrupt or annoy 
the fisheries carried on upon the said eastern coast of 

This comprises a strip of coast about one hundred 
miles in length, not including the great bays which are 
twenty to thirty miles deep. It is not clear what this 
grant was intended to convey. The other grants were 
for specified blocks of land ; this apparently is length 
without breadth. Like the preceding grants, it is quali- 
fied by a clause safeguarding the interests of the 

Brother Kohlmeister retired in 1824 after thirty-four 
years' service, during five of which he had been in con- 
trol of all the settlements. He reported that Nain and 
Hopedale were practically Christian settlements, all the 
inhabitants being baptized and no heathens living in 
neighbourhood, but that Okak was still a mission 
among the heathen, a great number of Eskimos from 
the far north and Ungava Bay regularly resorting 

In 1825 the Eskimos were visited with a peculiar 
disorder, the symptoms being violent vomiting and 
profuse sweats. The Brethren were quite unable to 
diagnose it or treat it successfully, and a large proportion 
of deaths resulted. 

After the Harmony left Hopedale this season the 


Brethren were afforded another opportunity to write to 
their friends at home. A gentleman from Newfound- 
land, Mr. Cozens, paid them a visit in his schooner, 
having been into Hamilton Inlet to convey a Methodist 
Missionary, who intended settling there. This is the 
first mention of a Newfoundland schooner on that part 
of the coast. 

In 1828 all the settlements were scourged by an 
epidemic of measles, which proved particularly fatal to 
the unfortunate Eskimos, twenty-one dying at Nain 
and eleven at Hopedale ; the number of deaths at 
Okak and among the heathen is not given. In that 
year there were living — 

At Okak . . . 394 persons. 

„ Nain . . .232 „ 

„ Hopedale • .176 ,, 

Okak was gladdened this year by the present of an 
organ. This venerable instrument was the same which 
assisted the devotions of the Missionaries when they 
first established themselves at Herrnhut in 1724. The 
Eskimos, who are passionately fond of music and for- 
tunately not very critical, were greatly delighted with it. 

Preparations were begun in 1829 for the establish- 
ment of a fourth settlement, which became known as 
Hebron. It had been authorized by the grant of 18 18, 
but the building had been unavoidably postponed from 
year to year. The timber for the building was prepared 
at the other stations, and the Harmony, with another 
vessel, the Oliver, took out building material and sup- 
plies direct from England, but it required six years of 
arduous labour on the part of the Brethren before all 
the buildings were completed. Very little help could 
be obtained from the Eskimos. They were very friendly 


and assisted at odd times, but could not be induced to 
work regularly. Steady labour for a day's pay had not 
yet entered into their scheme of economy. This station 
at once took the place which had been occupied by 
Okak, and became the chief point of contact with the 
heathen Eskimos. All the trials and disappointments 
of the early days had to be again endured. But few 
of the newcomers could be brought to listen to the 
Gospel tidings, and many openly mocked. They were, 
as usual, greatly delighted by the music, but evinced 
a desire to dance to the hymn tunes, to the great 
scandal of the Brethren. One man, who had two wives, 
being asked if he thought both of them would accom- 
pany him into another world, misunderstood the pur- 
port of the question, and naively replied, " Oh, yes ; for 
I have improved them greatly, and taught them to live 
in peace with one another." 

They were visited for the first time in 1830 by Capt. 
Patterson, Judge of the Labrador Court. This court, 
which was first held in 1826, was discontinued in 1833, 
as it was found that there was not sufficient business 
to warrant the great expense. 

In 1834 Harmony III was built at a cost of 
^^3662 i6s. 2d., less ;^I250 received for the old ship. 
Fortunately the cargoes brought back by the ship in 
1834 and 1835 were of greater value than usual, and the 
heavy expense of the new ship and station was 
apparently wiped out, as no further mention is made 
of them : 1836 was another year when ice stayed on 
the coast in a solid jam until the beginning of August. 
The character of the ice was also remarkable, being 
described as bottom ice of great thickness either wholly 
or partially concealed beneath a covering of water, too 
shallow to allow a vessel to pass over with safety. At 


the close of 1835 the number of Eskimos living at 
each station was — 

At Hopedaie . . . 194 

„ Nain . . . . 278 

„ Okak . . . . 251 

„ Hebron . . , . 148 

As seems so often to happen, after a year of much ice 
succeeded a year of very little, the Harmony reporting 
in 1837 that she had met with no drift ice and was 
consequently able to get into Hopedaie on July 13th. 
It had been a very hard year on the coast. Very few 
seals had been taken and the stock of codfish was very 
small, the Eskimos as usual having neglected to make 
provision for the winter. At Okak and Hebron they 
were reduced to the verge of starvation, and several 
deaths from this cause occurred in the immediate 
neighbourhood, although out of reach of the Brethren. 
The distress was very greatly intensified by a distemper 
among the dogs, which caused the death of about 
90 per cent, of these useful animals. 

On November 30th, 1836, a smart shock of an earth- 
quake was felt at Hopedaie, attended by a sudden and 
unusual warmth of temperature. On January 24th, 
1837, a remarkable atmospheric phenomenon excited 
all beholders. A brilliant light appeared in the north 
as if an immense city like London were in flames, 
approaching in brightness that of the sun ; afterwards 
it seemed to diffuse itself in a fiery red glow over the 
eastern quarter of the heavens, whence it moved on- 
ward south, then west, and became so intense that the 
snow assumed a perfectly red colour. This singular 
phenomenon had but little resemblance to the " Aurora 
Borealis." It will be remembered that another extra- 


ordinary atmospheric phenomenon was recorded in 

The Harmony was treated to a most unusual experi- 
ence in 1838, for the ocean was entirely free from ice, 
and the Missionaries reported the coast had been clear 
for some time before her arrival. This and the years 
1839-40 were prosperous and uneventful. Moderate 
seasons, abundance of food, and a steady progress to- 
wards civilization on the part of the Eskimos, is the 
satisfactory intelligence derived from the reports of 
the Missionaries. Except that a plague of mice one 
summer devoured their crops (which was pretty hard 
luck after they had withstood the rigours of the climate), 
and the steady approach of the southlander traders, 
the Brethren had little to complain of. 

The number of Eskimos at the different stations 
in 1840 was — 

At Hopedale . . . 205 

„ Nain . . . . 298 

„ Okak .... 352 

J, Hebron . . . . 179 

1034 in all. 

The Eskimos at this period are reported to have 
largely deserted the coast north of Hebron and to 
have gone to Ungava. 

Ill 1842 a malignant influenza raged among both 
Europeans and Eskimos, many deaths resulting. It 
was a lean year, and the Eskimos often felt the pinch of 
hunger. There was a great scarcity of seals, caused, 
the Eskimos said, by an exceedingly great quantity of 
sword-fish which infested the coast and chased away the 
seals, besides being very dangerous to themselves. The 
cargo of the Harmony was not sufficient to pay expenses. 


In 1843 there was a complete reversal of this gloomy 
state of affairs. The Harmony m.ade the quickest round 
trip on record, bringing back a very valuable cargo, 
which happened in good time as they had just been 
obliged to spend ^^"1500 on repairs to the ship. An 
incident occurred in 1844 which marked, as perhaps 
nothing else could, the advance v/hich had been made 
by the Eskimos towards civilization. A band of Indians, 
belonging either to the Nascopee or Montaignais tribes, at Hopedale in great distress for want of 
provisions. Time was when the Eskimos would have 
exterminated them, one and all, but now they received 
them with every indication of friendliness and hospi- 
tality, took them into their houses and supplied them 
with food, although they themselves were on short 
commons at the time. The Brethren learned that these 
Indians had been baptized by Roman Catholic Mission- 
aries on the south coast of Labrador. 

The Brethren made an interesting experiment about 
this time, having obtained from the Himalayas and 
Thibet seeds of barley and other grains, as well as of 
pines and cedars, which flourish in those elevated 
latitudes. The climate of Labrador was too much for 
them however. The barley came up, but v/as cut down 
by frost before it had attained much growth, while the 
forest tree seeds did not even germinate. 

1846 was another lean year on Labrador, particularly 
at Nain, caused by a total failure of the seal fishery 
and the neglect of the cod fishery. There were many 
deaths from starvation in the neighbourhood of the 
Brethren, but of course none at their stations. The 
report for 1847 says: — 

" Food and raiment, health and strength, were largely 
bestowed upon the members of our several congrega- 


tions ; to their households want was almost a stranger, 
neither did any plague come nigh their dwellings." 

But another visitor appeared on the coast — the fabu- 
lous " Kraaken." Some Eskimos reported having seen 
near to Cape Mugford a terrible monster, whose arms 
protruded out of the water at a distance of a hundred 
paces, and that its voice was harsh and terrifying, like 
low thunder. They hastened to the Missionaries with 
their tale, who had no difficulty in deciding that it was 
the giant octopus which had so frightened the Eskimos. 
This fearsome creature has several times been seen on 
these coasts. 

At the close of the year 1850 there were 1297 Eskimos 
living at the settlements — 

At Nain . . . , 314 

55 Okak .... 408 

„ Hopedale . . . 229 

„ Hebron .... 346 

The voyage of the Harmony in 185 1 was reckoned 
the most stormy for twenty years; ice was met 350 
miles off the coast, which with dense fog and storms 
of wind caused the ship to be often in extreme danger. 
On her return voyage she took Brother Beck and his 
wife to seek a well-earned repose after thirty-four years' 
service on the Labrador. He was born in Greenland, 
where his father had laboured as a Missionary for fifty- 
three years and his grandfather for forty-three years' 
There are several other instances among the Moravians 
of the Missionary role being handed on from father and 
son through several generations. 

One of the most serious calamities which ever befell 
the Missions took place in 1853, when the Harmony, 
after reaching Hopedale, was blown off the coast by a 


violent north-west gale, and in spite of long-continued 
efforts was forced to abandon the voyage to the other 
settlements. It was always the policy of the Brethren 
to keep a year's supply ahead of all necessaries, fearing 
some such contingency as this. But it was a hard 
experience. The Eskimos had had a poor season, and 
the Brethren could not afford them much assistance 
from the stores, which were quite out of biscuit, meal, 
and pease, before the Harmony again arrived. They 
obtained a small supply of these articles from the 
nearest Hudson Bay Company's post by giving in 
exchange the skin boots made by the Eskimos, for 
which a considerable demand had sprung up in the 

From Hopedale we get the following interesting 
item : — 

" Mr. Smith, the director of the factories belonging 
to the H. B. Co., called upon us in reference to the 
establishment of a Mission at Gross Water Bay. He 
took a quantity of English Bibles and Testaments from 
hence with him so that our supply is exhausted."^ 

In 1855 the Harmony fell in with quantities of drift 
ice 250 miles from the coast. The winter had been 
very severe, but an unwonted measure of prosperity 
had been experienced. An abundance of seal and cod- 
fish had been taken and a large quantity of fur collected, 
so that the return cargo of the Harmony was one of the 
most valuable on record, and not only paid the expenses 

^ This excellent footwear is still in great demand among fishermen and 
lumbermen, being light and quite waterproof if somewhat odoriferous. 

" That Mr. Smith, now Lord Strathcona, should fifty-five years later 
be still hale and hearty, and living a life of activity and importance as 
High Commissioner for Canada in England, is very remarkable. His 
benefactions are world-wide, but especially has he contributed to the 
support of the Deep Sea Mission work on the Labrador. 


of the Missions, but left a surplus which was devoted to 
the general Mission fund. 

Sad news was received from the Labrador on the 
following year. Famine and disease again visited the 
coast, especially at the two northern stations. Im.mense 
masses of ice remained on the coast until late in the 
summer of 1855, and very small quantities of cod could 
be taken. The following autumn and spring the seal 
hunt was a failure, so that both the Brethren and their 
flock were at the end of their resources. At Hebron 
fifty-nine people died of disease. 

The following season, 1856-7, was, as so often seems 
to happen, a complete contrast to the preceding year. 
An abundance of seals and cod gladdened the hearts 
and fattened the bodies of the Eskimos. 

Earthquake shocks were again noted at Hebron in 


In pursuance of an invitation given by Mr. Donald 
Smith, Brother Eisner left Hopedale in April, 1857, 
and journeyed to North-West River to discuss with him 
the advisability of starting a Mission either there or at 
Rigolet. After a hard journey of five days he reached 
Mr. Smith's comfortable and hospitable dwelling. He 
was delighted with the country and the appearance 
of the settlement. Mr. Smith had four head of cattle, 
besides sheep, goats, and fowls ; there was milk in 
plenty, and for the first time on Labrador he tasted 
fresh roast beef, mutton, and pork. 

Mr. Smith's proposal was an enticing one. While not 
fully authorized by the Hudson Bay Company, he 
suggested that they would build a church and dwelling- 
house, and pay a Missionary ;^ioo a year, which v^^ould 
have been affluence to the Moravians, whose yearly 
stipend was ;^22. 


There were very few settlers in the neighbourhood, 

and the Indians who visited the post professed the 
Roman Cathohc religion. On Sunday Mr. Smith read 
service to his household, which was attended by about 
thirt}^ Indians, although they couid not understand a 
word of what was being said. Brother Eisner reports 
that " they were very fond of rum, but get it only in 
small quantities as presents, the sale of spirits to the 
Indians being prohibited by law." ^ 

At Rigolet Brother Eisner found a very small com- 
munity, and in all Hamilton Inlet there were but thirty- 
one families, ten of which were Eskimos. After a 
thorough discussion the Moravians decided that it would 
be impossible for them to undertake this new field of 
work. Mr. Smith's attitude to the Moravians was very 
different from the later policy of the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany. We shall hear soon of a very aggressive and 
annoying competition forced upon the Brethren by the 
Company, who apparently aimed at engrossing the whole 
Labrador trade. 

In 1859 the dogs were again attacked by the dis- 
temper which periodically visits the Labrador. The 
cause of this mysterious disease has not been ascer- 
tained. It seems to be rather infectious than contagious, 
for it breaks out simultaneously all over the coast, at 
places very widely separated and with no communi- 
cation. The dogs in Ungava Bay were afflicted at the 
same time as those in Hopedale. It not only attacked 
the dogs, but the wolves, foxes, and even the caribou 

^ This has been and still is a very serious question. John McLean, 
writing in 1849, says of York P'actory, Hudson's Bay : — " To find the 
Company serving out rum to the natives as payment for their services in 
this remote quarter, created the utmost surprise in my mind. No excuse 
can be advanced which can justify the unhallowed practice." It is feared 
that it is not yet at an end. 


died in vast numbers from the same disease. We seem 
to know very little about the various pestilences to 
which wild animal life is subject, and less about the 
strange migrations and changes of habit which have 
been so often noted. Reading over these Moravian 
annals one finds many curious and unexplained 
phenomena of this kind. In some seasons there were 
immense quantities of willow grouse taken and then 
none. The caribou and foxes were equally intermit- 
tent in their visits, not to mention the seals and cod- 
fish. The strange disappearance within the past fifteen 
years of the vast flights of curlew which had annually 
visited Labrador ever since the country has been 
known; and in Newfoundland in 1904-5, the strange 
disease which attacked the rabbits and caused them 
to die in thousands. All are so far inexplicable, and 
demand investigation by the student of natural his- 

In i860 the number of Eskimos at the stations 
was as follows : — 

At Nain . . . . 277 

„ Hopedale . . . 241 

,, Okak . . . . 314 

„ Hebron .... 306 

The fourth Harmony was launched in 1861 ; a larger 
vessel than her predecessor, which had braved the storms 
and ice of Labrador for twenty-nine years. The London 
Association found themselves able to pay for her with- 
out calling for special contributions. The same report 
says that for many years past no demand had been 
made upon the Treasury for the support of the work in 
Labrador, South Africa, or Surinam. 

The monotony of life on Labrador was occasionally 


varied by the arrival of chance visitors. On two occa- 
sions American whalers wintered on the coast near the 
settlements. One of these vessels was very badly 
damaged, but by the assistance of the Brethren was 
put into a seaworthy condition. The spiritual condition 
of the captain also caused them much concern, as it 
seemed to be in as much need of repairs as his ship. 
In 1 86 1 there swam into their horizon a boat's crew of 
runaway sailors from an American whaler in Cumber- 
land Inlet. Captain C. F. Hall mentions their de- 
parture from that bay. The boat then contained nine 
persons ; when they arrived at Okak there were six, 
and they had no hesitation in confessing that they 
had eaten their missing comrades, who they said had 
died. They were a desperate gang, and showed no 
gratitude for the kindness they received, their last 
act being to rob the Eskimos who showed them on 
their way. 

An interesting report on the stations is submitted by 
Brother Reichel, who had been sent by the General 
Synod to investigate the condition of affairs. He esti- 
mates that there were about 1500 Eskimos living on the 
Labrador, of whom 1163 were under the influence of 
the Brethren, if not actually converted. At New Year 
they assemble at the Mission stations and occupy 
themselves in the capture of partridges and foxes. In 
February they go to the edge of the ice to take seals, 
but always make a point of returning for the services 
of Passion Week. After Easter they go inland to hunt 
caribou. In June they collect eggs from the islands, 
after which the cod fishing soon begins, and lasts until 
September. From October to the end of the year they 
give their attention principally to the taking of seals in 
nets, which forms their chief supply of food during the 


winter. But very few Eskimo families were then con- 
tent with the food which had satisfied their ancestors. 
Molasses, sugar, biscuits, and other European food had 
become almost a necessity, and were obtained princi- 
pally from the Newfoundland fishing schooners or 
traders. They had given up the practice of harpooning 
seals or taking sea birds by means of darts, at which 
they had been so marvellously expert, and used fire- 
arms instead, which was more expensive and considered 
by the Brethren to be rather retrograde. 

The steady advance of the Newfoundland fishing 
and trading schooners was a continued anxiety to the 
Brethren. Besides supplying their flocks with useless 
European goods and intoxicating liquors, they usurped 
the fishing stations which had been used by the 
Eskimos. When the schooners first appeared on the 
coast the Eskimos were usually away sealing, and when 
they returned they would find their places occupied. 
Six vessels fished at Hopedale during the summer of 
1863, and were first reported at Hebron in the same 
year. Twenty-five vessels touched at Hopedale in 
1866, 108 in 1 868, and in 1870 over 500 passed north, 
145 being counted in one day. The Brethren at once 
began to minister to the spiritual needs of this large 
floating population, and an English-speaking Brother 
was sent out for this special service. The men are 
reported as being generally very well behaved and 
apparently appreciating the endeavour to serve them. 
Over three hundred attended a special service held for 
them in 1868. 

In 1863-4 serious epidemics visited the Eskimos and 
caused the death of large numbers of them, and in 1868 
the " loss of sense " disease again attacked the dogs. 
The station at Zoar was begun in 1865, and it had 

j£i- • :■: __ - ?, trL^ 


been decided to start yet another small station north of 
Hebron, and Saglek Bay had been chosen and a house 
and store built there. But in the following summer the 
Hudson Bay Company located an agent there, so it was 
resolved to leave him in undisputed possession and 
move farther north to meet the heathen Eskimos. 
Nachvak Bay was then selected and a house erected 
there, but again an agent of the Hudson Bay Company 
was sent to compete for the Eskimo trade, and the 
Moravian Brethren again beat a retreat. This compe- 
tition with the Hudson Bay Company was most trying 
to the Brethren. There can be no question as to whose 
influence was the better for the Eskimos. The result 
is, alas ! all too plain to-day, for at Nachvak is living 
the pitiful remnant of a tribe of Eskimos steeped in 
barbarism and vice. 

John McLean, whose book, Twenty-five Years in the 
Hudson Bay Company s Service, was published in 1849, 
is very frank in describing the disastrous results of the 
Company's trade to the Indian tribes. His praise of the 
work of the Moravian Brethren is as unqualified as is 
his condemnation of that of his own Company, in respect 
to which he quotes the old adage, " The more the divil 
has the more he wants." 

The hundredth voyage of the Moravians' ship, success- 
fully performed to and from Labrador, was naturally the 
occasion of much rejoicing. A pamphlet published by 
the Brethren in commemoration of the event briefly 
gives the history of the ships and their captains, 
and furnishes a story unique in the annals of com- 
merce. They never lost a ship, nor failed to reach the 
Labrador in spite of ice, fog, storms, and an entirely 
uncharted coast. It is worthy of note that a much 
lower premium of insurance is paid on the Brethren's 



ships than on any other vessels employed in similar 

In 1 870-1 the coast remained blocked with ice until 
very late in July, so that the take of codfish both by the 
Eskimos and Newfoundland fishing vessels was very 
small. This seemed to be quite a set-back for the latter, 
for very few schooners, comparatively, went north in 
1872. In this year the Brethren began to send their 
catch of codfish to St, John's for sale, as it had been 
very difficult to dispose of it in London. The usual 
food supply was very short in the winter of 1871, and 
there would have been great distress had there not 
been an extraordinary number of partridges (willow 
grouse) taken, A change from the ordinary diet which 
would have been very gladly made by anyone not an 

In 1 87 1 the most northern station of the Brethren 
was built at Ramah. For the next . few years life 
flowed along very smoothly at the Moravian Mission 
stations. In 1874, at Nain, there was considerable 
dissatisfaction among the Eskimos over their trade 
dealings at the Brethren's store, but the trouble soon 
blew over. 

The ice lay on the coast in 1875 until late in July, 
and Hopedale reports hundreds of Newfoundland 
schooners lying outside the ice waiting to get into 
shore to begin fishing operations. When they were 
finally able to commence fishing they met with great 

In 1876 the poor Eskimos were again ravaged by a 
cwt/zsed disease, the whooping cough, and over a hundred 
died out of a population of twelve hundred. Brother 
Reichel, whose report on the stations in 1861 has been 
noticed, again made a tour of inspection in 1876. The 


comparisons he makes are very interesting. He reports 
the spiritual condition of the Eskimos as vastly im- 
proved. The advent of so many fishing schooners to 
their neighbourhood seeking the cod, trout, and salmon, 
which the Eskimos had despised and rejected, instigated 
quite a feeling of rivalry, and they very soon became 
much more industrious. By this means they were 
able to improve their condition greatly. The snow- 
houses and tents had given place to blockhouses after 
the European plan. They had also largely abandoned 
their sealskin clothes, reserving those characteristic cos- 
tumes for Sundays and state occasions, which was a 
decided change for the worse. As was also the increased 
use of European food. 

During the period 1861-76 the number of boats had 
increased from 117 to 237; the "umiaks," or women's 
boats, had decreased from 14 to 4 ; and the kayaks 
from 214 to 154; while the number of dogs had in- 
creased from 222 to 716. 

There were still a number of heathen Eskimos from 
Ungava Bay regularly visiting Ramah, but efforts to 
convert them were long ineffectual. One man replied, 
when urged to join their congregation, that he had 
already greatly improved his way of living, for had 
he not refrained from killing a man zvho had offended 
him ? A negative virtue which caused him much self- 
congratulation, and doubtless represented considerable 

In 1877 the Brethren were afforded the luxury of a 
steam-launch to ply between their stations. The credit 
system had been so much abused at the stores that more 
stringent rules had to be enforced, and credit refused to 
those Eskimos v^^ho made no effort to pay their debts. 
This nearly bred a riot, but after a while the Eskimos 


admitted that the new rules were founded in justice, 
and for a time the trade v^^as conducted on a better 

The year 1901 was a sort of Jubilee year, when 
debts were cancelled, and the Eskimos started on a 
clean sheet. The Newfoundland fishing schooners are 
first reported at Ramah in this year. 

A good many complaints are made from all the 
stations about this time of the conduct of some of the 
Newfoundland fishermen in appropriating such property 
of the Eskimos as they took a fancy to. Such valuable 
property as boats, nets, ropes, and anchors were stolen 
without any thought of the inconvenience, not to say 
irreparable loss, inflicted upon the Eskimos, Immunity 
from punishment is a great temptation ; and there was 
no governmental control, not even a policeman on this 
enormous tract of coast, to protect the weak from the 
strong. From the time of Palliser the only method 
of government has been by proclamation, and in this 
instance it was the only means taken to protect the 
Eskimos from their lawless visitors. 

In 1879 we note the following entry : — 

" That our request to be provided with something 
like security in the matter of our civil rights as 
German citizens has been met by the appointment 
of Brother Bourquin, our president, to the office 
of Consul of the German Empire for Labrador, was 
a matter of no little interest to us, and we desire to 
express our thanks to the Brethren in London for their 
successful efforts on our behalf" 

In 1880 it is stated that the cargo of the Harmo7iy 
might reasonably be expected to defray the entire cost 
of the Labrador Missions. The number of Eskimos 



and settlers in the Moravian congregations was 1302, 
distributed as follows : — 





Nain . 


Okak . 






In this year we have to note an incident which has 
occurred on several occasions since, each time with 
dire consequences not only to the Eskimos particularly 
concerned, but also to the whole community. 

From time immemorial civilized nations have been 
possessed with a desire to see savage people. Shake- 
speare notes this curiosity when he makes Trinculo say, 
" When they will not give a doit to relieve a lame 
beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian." 

The Eskimos have been particular objects of curiosity 
ever since the discovery of the New World, and have 
been often taken to England and exhibited. But 
latterly this species of show has become a regular 
business, and at every great Exposition remote and 
curious people from all parts of the world have been 

On the occasion referred to now, Hagenbeck, the 
well-known wild animal exhibitor of Hamburg, sent 
to Labrador and induced eight Eskimo men, women, 
and children to go to Europe for exhibition purposes. 
The Brethren at once saw the probable evil con- 
sequences, and used all their persuasive powers to 
prevent them from going. But the attraction of good 
pay, easily earned, outweighed the warnings of the 
Missionaries. Their forebodings were only too quickly 


realized. After appearing at the Zoological Gardens 
in Berlin for a few months, they toured through 
Germany, and finally reached Paris. Here they con- 
tracted small-pox, and all died. It was almost exactly 
a hundred years before that Cartwright's Eskimo friends 
met with a similar fate in England. 

The following piteous letter was written by the chief 
man among this little band of exiles to one of the 
Brethren : — 

" Paris, Jamtary 8th, 1881. 

"My dear teacher Elsner, 

" I write to you very sadly, and am much troubled 
about my relatives, for my child which I was so fond 
of lives no more ; she has died of the bad small-pox, 
after being for four days only ill. By our child's death 
my wife and I are strongly reminded that we too must 
die. It died in Crefeld, although many doctors saw it. 
These men can indeed do nothing, so we will above all 
look to Jesus, who died for us, as our Physician. My 
dear teacher Eisner, we kneel daily before Him, and 
ask Him to pardon us for coming over here ; and 
do not doubt that He will hear our prayer. Every 
day we weep together for the pardon of our sins 
through our Lord Jesus Christ. Even Terrianiak, 
who is now alone [his wife and child had died], when 
I speak to him about conversion, tells me — I think 
with sincerity — he desires to become our Saviour's 
property. He joins us daily at prayers, as also our 
little Maria. But her life is in danger, for her face 
is much swollen. Tobias is very ill. I remember 
that Jesus alone can help us in the hour of death. 
Yes, indeed. He is with us everywhere. I wish I 
could tell my people beyond the sea how kind the 


Lord is. Our master buys much medicine for us, 
but all seems useless. I hope in the Lord, who sees 
my tears daily. I care not for worldly advantage ; 
but I do long to see my friends once more, and, as 
long as I live, to speak to them in the name of the 
Lord. I did not formerly understand these things ; 
now I do. My tears come often, but the words which 
He has spoken always bring me fresh comfort. My 
dear teacher Eisner, pray for us that this sickness be 
removed, if it be His will ; but His will be done. I 
am a poor man like the dust. 

" It is very cold in Paris, but our master is now very 
kind to all of us. I salute you, so does my wife ; and 
with you the members of the church at Bremen. Tell 
the great teachers [the Directing Board] that we salute 
them very much. The Lord be with you all. Amen. 

" I am, Abraham, husband of Ulrika." 

Such was the sad fate of these poor creatures, 
" butchered to make a Roman holiday." 

It was fortunate perhaps that there were no survivors 
to take back disease and death to their friends, as did 
poor Kaubvick in Cartwright's time, and as has been 
done in a more serious way since. 

In 1893 3- colony of Eskimos, consisting of fifty- 
seven men, women, and children, were taken to the 
Chicago Exposition. They were recruited principally 
from southern Labrador, but some few went from the 
Moravians' stations. Of their adventures in Chicago 
little has been learned, but at the end of the Exposition 
the survivors were returned to Newfoundland, in an 
absolutely destitute condition, at the expense of the 
colony. The money due to them was never paid. A 
schooner had gone to Labrador and taken them from 


their homes, but they were left to get back as best they 
could. They brought with them the infection of typhoid 
fever, to which a very large number of Eskimos, from 
Hopedale to Hebron, fell victims. At Nain, out of a 
population of three hundred and fifty Eskimos, ninety 
died during one winter, their dead and frozen bodies 
awaiting burial at one time the following spring. One 
man named Zecharias, from Hebron, said on his 
return : — 

" We are glad to be at liberty once more, and not to 
be continually looked at as if we were animals. We 
shall never go again." 

Another of this unhappy band was " Pomiuk," the 
little lame boy who attracted so much attention at 
Chicago, and whose life story has been since written, 
{Pomiuk, W. B. Forbush, Boston, 1903), evidencing in 
the most pathetic way the evil result of taking these 
poor people from their native country. 

In 1898 another lot of Eskimos, thirty-three in all, 
were induced by the same man who had taken the 
colony to Chicago three years before to go on tour to 
England, Europe, and America. Three died while 
exhibiting at Olympia, in London. In February, 1901, 
they were heard of in Algeria, and then went to 
America. On September 28th, 1903, six only of them 
were landed at Ramah, sick and destitute. They ad- 
mitted having led degraded and immoral lives while 
they were away, and, it has been found since, had 
contracted a most loathsome disease which has spread 
gradually through all the settlements and killed slowly 
and painfully a large number of poor creatures — the 
innocent with the guilty. So serious had the matter 
become, that it was contemplated sending H.M.S. 


Brilliant down in the fall of 1907 with medical assist- 
ance and supplies. 

A way must be found to prevent a repetition of such 
a tragedy. Legislation has been contemplated, but it 
has been difficult to decide what form it shall take. A 
reluctance to curtail the liberty of the subject is offered 
as an excuse for the delay of legislative enactment ; 
but in every part of the world laws and enactments are 
in force to protect the helpless from the consequences of 
their own folly, and already Newfoundland has similar 
laws, in so much as the sale of liquor to Eskimos is pro- 
hibited. Why, therefore, hesitate at this most necessary 
legislation ? Ever since Cartwright's humane experi- 
ment in 1 78 1, whenever the Eskimos have left their 
native coasts disease and death have quickly destroyed 
them. It should be made a penal offence to induce the 
Eskimos to leave their homes, and all captains of 
vessels should be prohibited from carrying Eskimos 
away without special permission of the Moravian 
Brethren in charge on the Labrador, and of the Minister 
of Justice of the colony. 

In 1880 the Newfoundland government first sent 
a mail steamer along the coast as far as Hopedale. 
The Brethren were thus afforded the opportunity of 
communicating more frequently with the outside world, 
and the oppressive feeling of isolation, which was one of 
the terrors of the post, was greatly mitigated. 

It was the unpleasant duty of the Missionary-in-chief, 
Brother Bourgin, to secure the arrest of an Eskimo 
man named Ephraim who had murdered his son-in-law 
in the most cold-blooded manner. In the early days of 
the Mission murder had been of frequent occurrence 
among the Eskimos, but latterly it had become quite rare. 
The lack of communication with the seats of justice, 



and the absence of any officers of the law, had made it . 
impossible heretofore to bring offenders to justice, and 
this was the first occasion on which an attempt was 
made to bring a criminal before a properly constituted 
tribunal. He was taken to St. John s for trial, was 
convicted, and sentenced to be hanged, but the sentence 
was afterwards commuted to imprisonment for life. 
He died in 1886. 

Whooping-cough and measles ravaged the unfortunate 
Eskimos in 1880-2, causing the death of large numbers. 
So many were ill at one time during the summer of 
1882 that it was impossible for them to make their 
usual provision for the winter, and great distress pre- 
vailed in consequence. 

There seems little of interest to be noted in the next 
few years. The food supply varied as usual, it being 
always either a feast or a famine with the Eskimos. 
The Annual Reports give one to understand that the 
proceeds of the trade had been steadily sufficient to pay 
the expenses of the Missions, 

In 1890 the number of Eskimos receiving the minis- 
trations of the Brethren was 1335 : 

At Hopedale 




In 1S92 a new era dawned for Labrador. 

From this time forward the Moravian Missionaries 
were to have, in the person of Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, 
a new and powerful ally in the work of God which 
they had been carrying on for a century and a 


quarter. They had been called to this desolate 
coast by the needs of the heathen Eskimos, then its 
only residents. We have read how their work has 
prospered through the long years, and how the heathen 
Eskimos have become genuine Christians, living humble 
Christian lives that would set a good example to many 
a European and American community. 

We have read how a new transient population has 
gradually invaded Labrador. How the traders, furriers 
and fishermen from Canada, America, and the Old 
Country, and now from Newfoundland, have gradu- 
ally advanced along the coasts seeking the spoils of 
the deep and the treasures of the forest. At first 
the Straits of Belle Isle only were visited ; about 
the beginning of the nineteenth century they had ad- 
vanced as far as Hamilton Inlet. In 1821 Capt. Martin 
could not obtain a pilot to take him farther north than 
Cape Harrison. It is i860 before we hear of New- 
foundland fishing schooners at Hopedale, and 1863 
before they reach Hebron. But the business continued 
to grow very rapidly, until in recent years it is com- 
puted that 1500 to 1800 schooners and 15,000 to 20,000 
people, men, women, and children, go annually to 
Labrador to employ themselves in the codfishery. We 
have read how the Moravian Missionaries endeavoured 
to minister to such of these people as they came in con- 
tact with ; but it was long evident in Newfoundland that 
the condition of things amongst this large fleet was not all 
that it should be. Every sudden growth of a new in- 
dustry of this kind seems to carry with it an attendant 
crop of troubles and abuses, which have become serious 
and threatening, almost before people have time to 
recognize them. It was thus with the Labrador fishing 
fleet. The Newfoundland Government were called upon 


again and again to pass laws and regulations to remedy 
abuses, and many more yet require to be passed. 

The Moravian Brethren did what they could for 
this large floating population ; but the problem was 
not one with which they could deal to advantage. The 
Eskimos were their particular care. Fortunately, the 
white settlers and fishermen were now (1892) to find 
a champion in Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, whose remarkable 
work on Labrador will be described in another chapter. 

In taking leave of the Moravian Brethren, the writer 
trusts that he has conveyed to his readers some idea of 
the noble and self-sacrificing lives of these good men, 
who, in a steady procession through 137 years, have 
carried on the work of God on Labrador. By their 
means the Eskimos have been preserved from extinction, 
have been civilized, educated, and brought to the 
knowledcre of their Creator and Saviour. 



LORENZO SABINE, in his most valuable Report 
on American Fisheries, 1853, expresses his con- 
viction that it was rather the pursuit of the fisheries 
which occasioned the first planting of the New 
England States than the desire for religious and 
political freedom, as is generally supposed. 

He relates the quaint tale, which has often been re- 
told, how the agents of the Puritans went from Leyden 
to London in 161 8, and had an interview with King 
James I, soliciting his consent to their going to America. 
The monarch asked them, " What profit might arise ? " 
and they answered in a single word, " P'ishing." Where- 
upon James replied, " So God have my soul, 'tis an 
honest trade ; 'twas the Apostles' own calling." 

Another anecdote is related of a minister who, 
addressing his flock in a meeting house in 1690, upraided 
them with having forsaken the pious habits of their 
forefathers, who had left ease and comfort for the sake of 
their religion ; when one of the congregation arose and 
said, " Sir, you entirely mistake the matter ; our ancestors 
did not come here on account of their religion, but to 
fish and trade." 

Certain it is that fishing was the chief pursuit of the 
early New Englanders, and has ever since been an 
important industry with their descendants. The boast 



was made at first that New England waters were as 
plentifully supplied with fish as those of Newfoundland, 
but as early as 1645 we find that the merchants of 
Boston and Charlestown sent several vessels on a fishing 
voyage to Bay of Bulls, Newfoundland. But the Civil 
War in England had spread even to distant Newfound- 
land. Sir David Kirke, in charge of the plantation in 
Newfoundland, was a devoted Royalist, while the New 
Englanders favoured the Commonwealth. When the 
fishing vessels had nearly completed their voyage they 
were seized and confiscated in the King's name. Such 
is the story related by Sabine ; but there is no reference 
to the event in the voluminous Colonial Papers at the 
Record Office, 

It soon became a regular practice for New England 
vessels to frequent Newfoundland waters, partly in the 
pursuit of the fisheries, but principally for trading 
purposes, bartering flour, provisions, and more especially 
rum, for codfish, which they marketed in the West Indies, 
and also for European wines and other goods brought 
out by the fishing vessels. 

Another trade which developed very early and was a 
continued source of trouble was the contraband trade in 
men. A memorial on the Newfoundland trade, pre- 
served at the Record Office under the date of 1668, 
states that " the West country owners at the end of the 
year send their men to New England to save their pas- 
sage home, by which fishermen are made scarce, and 
many serviceable seamen lost." In 1670 new rules and 
regulations for the government of the fishery were 
enacted, one of which was, " That masters give bonds of 
;^ioo to respective mayors to bring back such as they 
carry out, and that no fishermen or seamen remain be- 
hind after the fishing is ended." Subsequent enactments 


always repeated this rule, but as the masters of the 
vessels were glad to get rid of the expense of taking 
their fishermen back to Great Britain, and the New 
Englanders glad to take them to America, where the 
men themselves were only too anxious to go, it can be 
seen that the law was very likely to be broken. 

As an indication of the number of New England 
vessels resorting to Newfoundland in the seventeenth 
century, it is recorded that the Dutch fleet, sailing from 
New York in 1671, had been to Newfoundland, and 
captured five or six vessels belonging to Massachusetts. 

The Report on Newfoundland, by John Larkin, 1702, 
says that five hundred men, headed up in casks to pre- 
vent detection, were taken from Conception Bay alone in 
one year. But this was no doubt a gross exaggeration. 

In 1762 a proclamation was issued, compelling New 
England vessels to give bonds under heavy penalties 
not to take away men. But in 1765 we find one 
Stout, master of the Good Intent, convicted of having 
taken away sixty men the previous year, sentenced 
by the energetic and direct Sir Hugh Palliser to pay 
£60 to be spent in bringing out sixty needy men from 
Great Britain or Ireland, and also to pay the debts 
owed by the men he had taken away — thus " making 
the punishment fit the crime " in a very excellent man- 
ner. The next year PalHser issued an order that all 
New England vessels were to sail before October 31st, 
" Or they will have to stay the winter, as their sails and 
rudders will be lodged in the Fort until next year." 

Captain Crofton, in his interesting report of the 
fisheries in 1798, says in reference to this : — 

" I am sorry to inform you that the three last winters 
I was in Newfoundland, fishermen and people of all 
descriptions went to America in the most public and 


official manner. I say official, as the vessels in which 
they embarked cleared out at the Custom House for 
Ireland to carry passengers, when it was notoriously 
known that the passengers and master of the vessel 
had previously agreed that after she sailed the pas- 
sengers were to seize the ship, confine the crew, and 
proceed to America, where, having landed, the master 
then entered a protest and returned to Newfoundland." 

The first account of American vessels visiting Labra- 
dor is contained in the paper written in 1761 by Sir 
Francis Bernard, Governor of Boston, which is so full 
of interest that it is here reprinted : — 

Account of Labrador written by Sir F^'ancis Bernard, 
Governor of Massachusetts, 1 760. 
La Torre de Labrador, or the land for cultivation, if settled 
and improved by civilizing the natives, would afford a great 
fund for trade, especially that part of it called the Eskimeaux 
shore, between Cape Charles in the Straits of Belle Isle, in 
lat. 51, and Cape Chudley, in lat. 60 North, bounding east on 
the Atlantic ocean. There is but one noted writer of the 
French nation who mentions the Eskimeaux Indians : The 
derivation of Eskimeaux must depend entirely on him, as it is 
a French termination. What nation of Indians he intends 
by his descriptions of a pale red complexion, or where 
situated, it is not easy to conceive ; he surely don't mean 
those on the east main of Labrador, as it evidently will 
appear by the following observations that no foreigner had 
ever been among them, till Anno 1729; at least since Captain 
Gibbons, in Anno 1614, who, had he seen any of the natives, 
it is probable would have mentioned it ; and therefore I 
suppose the French writer must mean those who live on or 
between the lakes Atchoua and Atchikou, who have been 
known to trade with the French in Canada, or perhaps at 
St. James' Bay factory. 


The Eskimeaux coast is very easy of access early in the 
year, and not liable to the many difficulties, either on the 
coast of Newfoundland or Cape Breton. 

The coast is very full of islands, many of them very large, 
capable of great improvements, as they have more or less fine 
harbours, abounding in fish and seals, water and land fowls, 
good land, covered with woods, in which are great numbers 
of fur beasts of the best kind. Along the coast are many 
excellent harbours, very safe from storms ; in some are islands 
with sufficient depths of water for the largest ships to ride 
between, full of codfish, and rivers with plenty of salmon, 
trout, and other fish. The climate and air is extremely 
wholesome, being often refreshed with thunder and light- 
ning, though not so frequently as to the southward of Belle 
Isle Straits : fresh water is found everywhere on the coast and 
islands in great plenty. 

What follows shall be a plain narration of facts, as I 
received them from several persons who have been on the 
Eskimeaux coast, with now and then a digression, which I 
hope may be pertinent. 

Captain Henry Atkins sailed from Boston in the ship called 
the Whale on a voyage to Davis's Straits in 1729. On his 
return to Boston he went on shore in several places south- 
ward of Davis's Inlet, in lat. 56, but could not discover 
anywhere the least signs of any persons but the natives 
having been there before him. In lat. 53 : 40 : or thereabouts, 
being hazy weather he could not be very exact, he descried 
twelve canoes with as many Indians, who had come from the 
main, bound to an island not far from his ship, and then 
paddled ashore to an island as fast as possible. Captain 
Atkins followed them, and came to anchor that night, where he 
lay till the next day in the afternoon. He went on shore with 
several of his men, with small arms, cutlasses, and some small 
articles, to trade with the Indians, who made signs to him to 
come round a point of land, but he chose to go ashore on a 
point of land that made one side of a fine harbour. The 



Indians stood a little distance from the point, and by their 
actions showed signs of fear and amazement. He being 
resolved to speak to them, advanced toward them without 
anything in his hands ; the Indians took courage and suffered 
him to come near them. He showed them a file, knife, and 
sundry other little articles to exchange for fur, whalebone, etc. 
They did not apprehend his design, which obliged him to 
send on board his ship for a slab of whalebone, on sight of 
which they made a strange noise. It being near sunset, they 
pointed to the sun going down, and then lay down with their 
faces to the ground, covering their eyes with their hands. In 
a few minutes they rose again, pointing to the sun, and then 
turned themselves to the east, by which Captain Atkins 
understood they would come to him again the next morning. 
The Captain then went ashore, and carried with him some 
trifles he thought most agreeable to the Indians, who returned 
to the same place, and brought a quantity of whalebone, at 
least fourteen feet long, and gave him in exchange for about 
I OS. sterhng value, as much bone as produced him ;^i2o 
sterling at Boston. 

The Indians were chiefly dressed in beaver clothing of the 
finest fur, and some in seal skins. He could not distinguish 
their sex by their dress, but one of his seamen, being desirous 
to know, approached one of them, who, opening her beaver, 
discovered her sex, which pleased the Indians greatly. Cap- 
tain Atkins ordered one of his men to strip himself, which 
caused the Indians to hollow as loud as possible. While they 
were thus engaged one of the Indians snatched up a cutlass, 
upon which they all ran off. Captain Atkins resolved not to 
lose it and followed them, and making signs, they halted. He 
applied to one of them, whom the others payed most respect 
to, and got it returned. He then fired off one of his guns 
pointed to the ground, which terrified them extremely, which 
their hollowing plainly discovered. I am the more particular 
in this account from his own mouth, as I think it plainly 
indicates that the Indians on this coast and islands had never 


any trade or commerce with any civilized people from Europe 
or America ; of course not with the French from Canada, or the 
Hudson's Bay factories. The Indians signified to Captain 
Atkins, that if he would go over to the main he should have 
more whalebone, but he did not choose to trust them. He 
observed their beaver coats were made of many pieces sewed 
together, being the best patches in the skin, which shows 
plainly they set light by their beaver skins, and this un- 
doubtedly for want of trade. 

Capt. Atkins observed they were dexterous, and active in 
the management of their canoes or boats, which were made of 
bark and whalebone, strongly sewed together, covered with 
seal skin, payed over with a dark sort of gum. These Indians 
were well made and strong, very fat and full of blood, owing 
to their living on raw whale fat and drinking the blubber or 
oil. Their limbs were well proportioned, their complexion a 
dark red, their hair black, short, and straight, having no beard 
nor any hair but on their heads. Their behaviour very lively 
and cheerful ; their language gutteral and dissonant ; their 
arms were bows and arrows, some of bone and some of wood ; 
their bows feathered and barbed ; they sling their darts through 
a piece of ivory, made square, and fastened to the palms of 
their hands. Capt. Atkins conceives them to be very cun- 
ning, subtile people, who could easily apprehend his meaning 
when he made signs to them, but took no notice of his speak- 
ing to them. As Capt. Atkins coasted that main he found 
the country full of woods, alder, yew, birch, and witch-hazel, 
a light fine wood for shipbuilding ; also fine large pines for 
ship masts, of a much finer grain than in New England, and 
of course tougher and more durable, though of a slower 
growth; and no question but naval stores may be produced 
here. The two inlets called Fitch and Davis, it is not known 
how far they run up the country ; Fitch's is a fair inlet, bold 
shore, and deep water, and great improvement might be made 
upon it, there being many low grounds and good grass land. 
Capt. Atkins sailed up Davis's Inlet about twenty-five 


leagues. This coast is early very clear of ice, though at sea 
a good distance off there are vast islands of ice that come 
from Hudson's and Davis's Straits, which are frequently carried 
as far as the banks of Newfoundland by the strong current 
that sets out from those straits southward. 

Capt. Atkins made his last voyage on this coast. Sailed 
the beginning of June, 1758, arrived at Mistaken Harbour, 
which he called so having put in there July ist, following, in 
a foggy day, and went northward (with fine weather, very hot, 
with some thunder and lightning) to lat. 57, searching for 
the Indians to trade with. Saw two large canoes which ran 
from him. Despairing of meeting any more there he returned 
southward, and went on shore in lat. 56 : 40 : at the Grand 
Camp ^ place, which he called so from great signs of Indian 
tents that had been fixed up there. Here he also saw two 
Indian men, one woman, and three children, who ran from 
him. He pursued and took them and carried them on board 
his vessel, treated them kindly, and gave them some small 
presents and then let them go. They were well pleased with 
Capt. Atkins. They called whalebone Shou-coe, a woman Aboc- 
chu, oil Out-chot. When he sent his seamen to fetch one of 
their canoes that had drifted from the vessel's side, they said 

I shall once for all take notice that the several harbours and 
places named by him was from anything remarkable he found 
in them, as Gull Sound and Harbour, from the prodigious 
number of gulls he saw there, also after the name of some of 
his particular friends. 

The entrance of Hancock's Inlet, in lat. 55 : 50: a very fair 
inlet ; very little tide sets in or out ; from fifteen to twenty 
fathoms water going in ; five hundred sail of ships may ride 
conveniently in this harbour, secure from any weather. On 
the east side the harbour is a natural quay or wharf, com- 
posed of large square stones, some of them, of prodigious 
bulk. The quay is near three miles long ; runs out into the 
^ Nakvak. 


harbour in some places sixty, in others two hundred feet 
broad ; eight fathom water at the head at high water ; so that 
ships may lay at the quay afloat, and save their cables. The 
harbour abounds in codfish very large, that a considerable 
number of ships might load there without going outside, 
which may be cured on the shore and at the quay, except in 
very high tides ; while some are employed in the codfishery, 
others might be catching salmon, seals, etc. in the harbours 
so called. Capt. Atkins and his people waded in Salmon 
River in two feet water, and catched some salmon in their 
hands, as many as they had salt to cure, one of which 
measured four feet ten inches long. How far up this river 
reached he could not tell, but believes a good way inland 
(though shallow in some places), to be capable of breeding 
such vast shoals of salmon, salmon trout, and other small fish 
that passed by them while fishing there ; also several acres of 
Flats in Salmon River, filled with clams, muscles, and other 
shell-fish, among many other conveniences necessary to a good 
harbour, and some falls of water suitable to erect saw mills, 
grist mills, etc. ; all kinds of sea fowl are very plentiful and 
easily taken. A good settlement might be made on Fort Island 
in this harbour, easily secured from any attacks of Indians. 
On Cape Cod there is a vast plenty of wood ; some pines he 
saw there sufficient to make masts for ships of six or seven 
hundred tons, and he doubts not but a little way inland they 
are much larger, and with hazel and other woods fit for ship- 
building. The soil in this harbour is capable of great improve- 
ments, there being rich low grounds. The woods abound in 
partridges, pheasants, and other game, as well as bears, deer, 
beavers, otters, black foxes, hares, minks, martins, sables, and 
other beasts of rich fur. The beavers are of the black kind, of 
the finest fur in this country. He took particular notice of 
some small birds of passage, among them some robins, well 
known to love a pleasant climate ; and on the shore side 
great plenty of geese, ducks, teal, brants, curlews, plovers, and 
sand birds ; and from all Capt. Atkins and his people could 


observe, they are well persuaded that the winters at the 
harbour (he now called Pownal Harbour in Hancock's Inlet), 
are not so uncomfortable as at Newfoundland and Louis- 
bourgh, though so much further northward. In September 
29th, 1758, he left this delightful inlet in fine weather, bound 
home to Boston, searching the coast and trading, put into 
Fortune Bay, and left it October i6th. Some sleet and rain and 
a little cold ; had five days' passage to St. Peter's Bay in 
Newfoundland, where the weather has been so cold and 
tempestuous for fourteen days before they could not catch 
fish, which Capt. Atkins might have done at Fortune Bay 
the whole time. 

I can hear of no vessel having wintered on that coast, ex- 
cept a snow which Capt. Prebble found at Fortune Bay when 
sent on that coast by Capt. Atkins in 1753. Capt. Prebble 
traded with the natives, about seventy men, women, and 
children ; got from them about 3000 lb. of bone for a trifling 
value. Capt. Prebble carried with him a young Frenchman 
in hope that some Indians might be found who understood the 
French language, but they could not find one who took more 
notice of it than of English — a plain proof these people 
had never left their own country to trade with the French ; 
for it is very observable that the Indians who have been used 
to trade with the French speak that tongue well. Capts. 
Atkins, Prebble, and others agree that the current sets south- 
ward ; in the several harbours they went into they found 
the tides flowed about seven feet. 

The river St. Lawrence being now opened to us, a passage 
from Boston may be made early to the Eskimeaux coast, 
through the Straits of Belle Isle. 1 might here add sundry 
observations made by Capt. Atkins and others on this coast ; 
and of their conjectures of the richness of this country in 
mines and minerals ; but I, at present, content myself with a 
bare relation of facts, sincerely wishing the foregoing ob- 
servations might be of any advantage to future navigators. 
Boston, Feb. i6tk, 1761. 


In 1753, Captain Charles Swayne, in the good ship 
Ar£-o, was despatched from Philadelphia to attempt the 
discovery of the North- West Passage. He was unable 
to force his way north through the ice, but carefully 
explored the coast from 56° to 65° N. lat. In 1754 
he again went to the Labrador coast, but three of his 
men being decoyed and murdered by the Eskimos, the 
further prosecution of the voyage was abandoned. 

New England whalers, apparently, were not slow to 
follow up the path which had been opened for them by 
Captains Atkins, Prebble, and Swayne, for as we have 
already heard. Sir Hugh PalHser speaks of them as 
regularly frequenting the coast in 1766. Their conduct 
to the Eskimos and to the English fishermen was so bar- 
barous and lawless that Sir Hugh Palliser wrote a letter 
of remonstrance to Sir Francis Bernard, and drew up 
rules and regulations for their government, and for the 
conduct of the whale fishery on the coast, (See Chap. X I.) 
This is an important point, and has some bearing upon 
the question of American rights in British waters. 

Labrador had just been joined to the colony of New- 
foundland, and it was the duty of the Governor, Sir 
Hugh Palliser, to bring this new dependency to law 
and order. He recognized no divided authority with 
Sir Francis Bernard, but drew up his rules and regula- 
tions, and asked Sir Francis to have them posted up in 
those parts of his government where the whalers and 
others going to Labrador would take notice of them. 
If the New Englanders went to Newfoundland and 
Labrador waters in pursuit of the fisheries, they were 
bound to obey the ordinances which had been drawn 
up for the conduct of those fisheries. As it was then, 
in the very beginning of this industry, so it has been 
ever since. The claim made by the Government of the 


United States to be free of any control, and above and 
apart from all local laws, can hardly be said to be 
founded upon original rights. 

New Englanders were also in the habit of visiting 
the Magdalen Islands, where their conduct was as ob- 
jectionable as it was on the coast of Labrador. In 1771 
Commodore Byron issued a Proclamation forbidding 
any one to fish at these islands without a special license. 

In 1774 a certain John Brown wrote to Governor 
Shuldham saying that he had carried on a fishery 
at Cod Roy and Humber Rivers, Newfoundland, for 
seven years, but had recently been greatly annoyed by 
masters of vessels coming there from America, and 
particularly by one Lawrence Cavanagh, who brought 
parties of Cape Breton Indians for the purpose of furring, 
all contrary to law. The Governor ordered that if any 
American vessels were found offending there in the future 
they were to be seized and brought to St. John's. 

Lorenzo Sabine, whose valuable Report has already 
been quoted, says : — 

" As I have examined the scattered and fragmentary 
accounts of Labrador, there is no proof whatever that 
its fishing grounds were occupied by our countrymen 
until after we became an independent people." 

And he adds : — 

"As late as 1761 it is not probable that fishermen of 
any flag had visited the waters of Labrador." 

In another place he says : — 

" The first American vessel which was fitted for the 
Labrador fishery sailed from Newburyport towards the 
close of the last century (1794). The business once 
undertaken was pursued with great energy, and several 


hundred vessels were engaged at it annually previous to 
the war of 1812." 

Sabine was not quite so well informed as usual on 
these points, for as readers of this history will have 
learned, the southern Labrador coasts were early visited 
by Europeans, and the fishery carried on by the New 
Englanders was also quite considerable. 

G. Browne Goode, in his monumental Report on 
American Fisheries, 1884, tells that in 1765 one hun- 
dred vessels cleared from New England for the whale 
fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Straits of 
Belle Isle. The season was a very good one, and they 
returned with about nine thousand barrels of oil. Loud 
complaints were made the next year against Palliser's 
regulations, which do not of themselves appear un- 
reasonable, but necessitated a considerable change from 
the lawless and uncontrolled methods of previous years. 
The Boston News Letter of November 18th, 1766, reports 
that the " vessels are returning half loaded " ; and a later 
issue says : — 

" Several vessels are returned from the whaling busi- 
ness who have not only had very bad success, but also 
have been ill-treated by some of the cruisers on the 
Labrador Coast." 

The following is Palliser's account of the circum- 
stance, in his letter to the Secretary of the Admiralty, 
August 25th, 1766: — 

" When the King's Ships arrived on their stations this 
year upon the coast of Labrador, they found between 
200 and 300 Whaling Vessels from the Plantations, 
great part of which were employed fishing for Cod and 
carrying it over to the French ships in Newfoundland ; 
also destroying the fishing works belonging to English 


fishers, firing the woods and doing every kind of mis- 
chief to prevent and discourage English adventurers 
from going to that coast ; also in hunting and plunder- 
ing the poor Indians on that coast. The King's officers 
immediately put a stop to all this, and sent them away 
a whaling ; then our new ship adventurers from Britain 
under this protection went to work, and have succeeded 
beyond expectations, taking amazing quantities of Cod." 

The New Englanders loudly protested against being 
debarred from fishing at Labrador. One writes : — 

" To me it is amazing that any body of men should 
attempt to engross it to themselves ; it will never prove 
very profitable to any body of men in England, and 
must be advantageous to Americans only." 

Additional instructions were sent to Palliser by the 
Admiralty in 1766, telling him "not to interrupt His 
Majesty's American subjects in fishing providmg they 
conform to the established rules of fishingP 

In the Schedule of the Fishery for 1767, the number 
of American vessels is given as about 300, 18,000 tons, 
and 3900 men. (See following page.) 

Goode says that " there can be no doubt but that 
the indiscretions of the whalemen were much magni- 
fied." "Indiscretions" is rather a mild term for the 
offences described by Palliser. Goode continues : " The 
Colonial governors often made the resources under their 
control a source of revenue for themselves, and Palli- 
ser's action would seem to indicate personal interest in 
keeping whalemen from the Colonies away from the 
territory under his control." 

There is absolutely no ground for this calumnious 
statement. Palliser was a man of the highest character, 
and to suppose that he could have interested himself 


An Account of the Trade and Fisheries Carried on within this 
Government by Vessels atid People from the Plantations. 

No. OF 









Sloops and 


These vessels Cargo's con- 

Schooners Em- 

sist chiefly of Rum, Mo- 

ploy'd Trading 

lasses, Bread, Flour, and 

to Newfound- 

other Provisions, which 


with their vessels sold 
may be rated at 100,000 
Pounds Value for which 
they are immediately Paid 
with Bills of Exchange 
upon England, a very 
small part excepted with 
the refuse Fish. 


Sloops and 
Schooners Em- 
ploy'd on the 
Whale Fishery 
recon'd at 60 
Tuns and 13 
Men each. 



According to the best Ac- 
counts, full this Number 
of Vessels have been Em- 
ploy'd about the Gulph of 
St. Lawrence, the Banks 
and Coasts of Newfound- 
land and Labrador ; they 
killed above One Hundred 
Whales of the best kind 
within the Gulph, where 
they stay only about six 
weeks ; what they killed 
afterwardsabout theBanks 
is not known, only that in 
general they have had good 


Sloops and 
Schooners Em- 
ploy'd on the 
Cod Fishery 
recon'd at 60 
Tuns and 10 
Men each. 



According to the best Ac- 
counts full this Number of 
Vessels have been em- 
ploy'd about the Banks 
adjacent to the Coasts of 
Newfoundland and Lab- 
rador ; they carry their Fish 
to the respective Provinces 
to which they belong, 
therefore the exact quan- 
tity of Fish they take is 
uncertain, but on an aver- 
age may be recon'd at 800 
Quintals p"^ Vessel, making 
240,000 Quintals. 





Hugh Pallisser, 15th Dec^., 1767. 


financially in any business during the three short 
summers he was on the coast betokens very little 
knowlege of the conditions. A fortnight each season 
was probably all the time he could spare at Labra- 
dor. His instructions to his subordinates, commanders 
of vessels and forts, always contained the strictest in- 
junctions not to engage in trade of any description. 

But the New Englanders did not seem to mend 
their ways as the years went on, for we find, in the 
very full reports made in 1772-3 by Lieutenant 
Roger Curtis, even severer strictures upon their con- 
duct. He said they were a lawless banditti, the cause 
of every quarrel between the Eskimos and Europeans, 
and whose greatest joy was to distress the subjects of 
the mother country ; they swarmed upon the coasts 
like locusts, and committed every kind of offence with 
malignant wantonness. Lieutenant Curtis's language 
gets quite picturesque on this subject, and we can 
only hope with Goode that they were not so black 
as they were painted. Curtis strongly recommended 
that they should be debarred the privilege of fishing on 
the Labrador entirely. 

But their fishing operations were soon brought to a 
standstill by the outbreak of the War of Independence, 
when many of the erstwhile fishermen turned privateers 
and returned to their former haunts, to harry the unpro- 
tected fishermen and settlers in Newfoundland and 

In 1776 Governor Montague writes that he hears 
that four privateers have been seen in the Straits of 
Belle Isle, and that he has two men-of-war there which 
he hopes may encounter them. In 1777 he is informed 
that two privateers are off Placentia " to burn, sink, 
and destroy." In 1778 he reports that privateers are 


daily committing depredations on the coast. Trinity 
Bay was actually in want of provisions from that cause, 
and in 1779 Fortune, St. Lawrence, and Burin are 
reported to be in the same case. George Cartwright, 
and the firm of Noble and Pinson, suffered considerable 
losses from their attacks. But Jeremiah Coughlan, 
Cartwright's early partner, writes to Governor Montague 
that he had escaped loss himself, and that " Grimes and 
his motley crew " had beaten a precipitate retreat. He 
had 250 men in his employ, and had put them under 
military discipline, so that he was able to beat Grimes 
off. He states that old Mr. Pinson was the cause of the 
garrison being withdrawn from York Fort, and that if 
Noble and Pinson had mounted their ship's guns on 
shore and assumed " an encouraging mode of carriage," 
it would have been defence enough against Grimes. 
But it was by no means a one-sided conflict, for in 
1780 five privateers were captured in Nevv^foundland 
waters, and in 1781 H.M.S. Phito sailed from St. John's 
one morning and returned in the afternoon with two 
captured privateers. 

While the negotiations for a treaty of peace were in 
progress, great stress was laid upon the importance of 
the fisheries. Every point, every word, was carefully 
weighed. Time and again the negotiations were nearly 
broken off because of the difficulty in coming to an 
agreement on this matter. But finally, by the Treaty 
of Paris, 1783, it was agreed — 

" that the people of the United States shall continue to 
enjoy, unmolested, the right to take fish of every kind 
on the Grand Bank, and on all the other banks of New- 
foundland ; also in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and at 
all other places in the sea where the inhabitants of both 
countries used at any time to fish ; and also that the 


inhabitants of the United States shall have liberty to 
take fish of every kind on such part of the coast of 
Newfoundland as British fishermen shall use (but not 
to dry or cure the same on that island), and also on the 
coasts, bays, and creeks of all other of His Britannic 
Majesty's dominions in America ; and that the American 
fishermen shall have liberty to dry and cure fish in any 
of the unsettled bays, harbours, and creeks of Nova 
Scotia, Magdalen Islands, and Labrador as long as the 
same shall remain unsettled ; but as soon as the same 
or either of them shall be settled, it shall not be lawful 
for the said fishermen to dry or cure fish at such settle- 
ment without a previous agreement for that purpose 
with the inhabitants, proprietors, or possessors of the 

A few points only of the above treaty need be touched 
upon. It will be noticed that while it was agreed that 
the United States should have the right^ to fish in the 
open seas, they had only the liberty^ to fish in British 
waters. In Newfoundland they could only take fish on 
such coasts as British subjects shall use — the intention 
on the part of the British being no doubt to guard 
the rights already given to the French, and also 
because the Americans were bound by treaty not 
to interfere with the French. In all other British 
Dominions the liberty was granted to fish in the coasts, 
bays, and creeks, which was a very much more com- 
prehensive term than the mere coasts of Newfound- 
land. That a distinction was intended is proved by 
the fact that it was so acted upon, and that American 
fishing vessels did not frequent Newfoundland waters, 
while they completely overran those of the other colonies. 

^ The use of these words was only agreed to after a long and heated 


It seems very probable that the United States 
willingly accepted the lesser rights in Newfoundland 
waters when unrestricted rights were granted on 
Labrador, the great value of which they fully ap- 

The New Englanders at once resumed their visits to 
Labrador, and in a few years the trade had become 

The Gloucester Telegraph published in 1829 an 
account written in 181 5 of the Massachusetts fisheries 
from 1790 to 1 8 10. It says : — 

"The 648 vessels that fish at Labrador and Bay 
Chaleur I put down at 41,600 tons, and 5832 men and 
boys. They take and cure 648,000 qtls. of fish, making 
one trip yearly. Most of the vessels cure part of their 
fish on shore near the place where they catch them, 
and the rest after their return home. Several cargoes 
are shipped direct to Europe, particularly to Alicante, 
Leghorn, and Naples, The average price obtained is 
$5.00 per quintal. They take 20,000 barrels of oil 
valued at $8.00 to $12.00. Some said that 1700 vessels 
were engaged in this fishery, but this is no doubt greatly 

This writer himself greatly overestimated the number 
of vessels pursuing the Labrador fishery, for in the 
statistics given by Sabine of the cod fishery of the 
United States, the average tonnage employed altogether 
at that period was 43,000, the greater part of which 
frequented the near-by fisheries on the Grand Banks. 
But still the numbers were no doubt considerable, for 
in 1806 forty-five vessels are reported to have sailed 
for Labrador from Newburyport alone. 

From Captain Crofton's Report of the Fisheries, 


1798, the following interesting particulars are gleaned. 
He says : — 

" Before concluding my observations respecting the 
Coast of Labrador, I think it proper to acquaint you 
that vessels from the United States of America have 
arrived here every year since the Treaty of Peace with 
that country ; and as there has been no ship hitherto 
appointed to attend their motions, it is most probable 
that they take every opportunity of trading with the 
Indians (Eskimos^ I have likewise heard that they 
have interrupted the British in their Salmon Fishery, 
having placed their nets in Rivers, which our Fisher- 
men consider contrary to the Treaty ; Harbours, Bays, 
and Creeks being particularly specified, and Rivers not 
being mentioned. It will therefore be satisfactory to 
have the right of fishing in Rivers more fully explained, 
as reference will be made to the first officer that happens 
to be on the spot during the time of catching salmon, 
which was finished before my arrival on the coast of 
Labrador, and the American vessels departed." 

While somewhat foreign to the design of this book, 
it is interesting here to note Captain Crofton's account 
of the fishery at the Magdalen Islands. He found that 
these islands had not been visited by any of His 
Majesty's ships since 1787. Prior to the war with 
America, the fishing rights had been leased to Colonel 
Richard Gridley, of Massachusetts — a fact which is also 
noted by Sir Joseph Banks in 1766. During the war, 
Gridley played an important part in the American 
Army, laying out the works at Bunker Hill, and after- 
wards becoming the head of the engineer's department 

^ It must be remembered that after the war was over, trade between 
the United States and the British North American colonies was inter- 


under Washington. Lorenzo Sabine says he had not 
been able to learn whether Colonel Gridley retained 
his grant of the Magdalens after the war. Captain 
Crofton, however, reports : — 

" That the only British fishery on the Islands is 
carried on by Mr. John Janvrin of Jersey, who has but 
one boat and three men. He bought a house, etc., 
from Mr. Gridley of Boston that had been resident here 
many years before and since the last war. Mr, Gridley 
carried on the Sea Cow fishery, and was then in partner- 
ship with Mr. Read of Bristol, but by what authority 
he established himself here since the War I cannot 
learn, as he received all his stores and provisions from 
Boston in New England, and sent the produce of the 
Islands thither in return. I was much surprised at 
finding a British Merchant's establishment here, on so 
small a scale, but am informed that the Island has been 
so much resorted to lately by American vessels that 
it has discouraged Mr. Janvrin from extending his 
commerce. This year the number of American vessels 
drying fish at the Magdalens amounted to thirty-five, 
and more than two-thirds of them have cured their 
fish in the Harbour of Amherst, and occupied so large 
a space as to almost exclude Mr. Janvrin or any British 
Adventurer from pursuing the fishery in an extensive 
way. The Americans, having met with no interrup- 
tion, have lately had the presumption to build several 
fish stages and flakes ; they have not yet left any 
person to remain the winter, but in the Spring bring 
two crews for each vessel, one of which remains on 
shore to cure the fish. The Americans having finished 
their fishery for the season, I therefore only observed 
to them that I was of opinion that it was improper for 
them erecting flakes, etc, and so many vessels resorting 


to one harbour, supposing that my admonishing them 
would now be too late to produce any effect this season. 
Before leaving the Magdalens, I am extremely sorry to 
acquaint you that the Sea Cow Fishery at those Islands 
is totally annihilated, not one having been seen for 
many years." ^ 

In September, 1797, Captain (afterwards Admiral) 
Isaac Coffin wrote to Governor Waldegrave, informing 
him that the Magdalen Islands fishery had been granted 
to him in 1788 by Lord Dorchester, and asking that 
Americans and all other poachers be restrained from re- 
sorting there. Governor Waldegrave wrote to the Duke 
of Portland for instructions on the matter. The reply 
was made that Captain Coffin's grant did not convey 
the right of settlement and occupation, that conse- 
quently the Magdalen Islands could not be said to be 
settled, and that therefore the Americans had the right 
to fish there. As lately as 1852, his heir, Captain 
Townsend Coffin, leased the islands to Benjamin Weir 
and others of Halifax. 

The American fishermen were clearly within their 
rights to dry and cure fish on the Magdalen Islands, 
provided that the places used by them were unsettled. 
Captain Crofton evidently considered that Amherst 
Harbour was a settled and occupied harbour from 
which the Americans were excluded, unless they made 
special agreements with the ostensible owners. 

The practice of hiring stations for drying and curing 
fish was occasionally resorted to by the Americans on 
the Labrador, as the following correspondence shows. 
That the lessors had no right to the place, and that the 

^ In the Report of the Fisheries for 1789, it is stated that the sea cow 
fishery had been ahnost totally destroyed by the Americans, who killed 
them in the water and on shore, especially during whelping time, in the 
month of May. 


Americans relet it in part, adds considerable piquancy 
to the story. 

In 1802 the important firm of D. Codner and Com- 
pany, of St. John's, made complaint to Governor Gambier 
that, having sent a vessel to Red Bay, Labrador, they 
could not get room there to erect stages and cure fish. 
They stated that the place was claimed by Randall and 
Company, who only occupied a small part themselves, 
letting the balance to Americans, so that the captain 
of their vessel was forced to rent a station from the 
said Americans, for which he paid £10. The Governor 
replied as follows : — 

" I have to inform you that no person is allowed to 
take possession of any part of the coast of Labrador, 
where there are no Canadian possessions, nor to make 
sedentary establishments save such as shall produce 
certificates of having sailed from England. You are 
authorized to occupy any vacant places on the coast of 
Labrador so long as the above rule is carried out." 

The rapid growth of the American fishery, on the 
coast of Labrador in particular, but also on the Nova 
Scotian coast and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, seriously 
affected the prosperity of Newfoundland. In 1804 the 
naval officer on the fishery service was told that there 
were 1360 American vessels employed on the Banks, in 
the Gulf, and on the Labrador. A watchman who had 
been employed to count the American vessels passing 
through the Gut of Canso in 1807, stated that there had 
been at least 938. 

Complaints of the aggressive conduct of the Ameri- 
cans were made from every part of British North 
America. At this period United States vessels do 
not appear to have frequented the Newfoundland coast. 


owing no doubt to the fact that the privileges granted 
by the Treaty of 1783 were very much more restricted 
in that island than in any other part of British North 
America. While Newfoundland waters were spared 
from the American invasion, the competition from the 
United States in foreign markets nearly ruined the 
Newfoundland trade. It was a serious handicap to 
have to bring out ships and men from Great Britain each 
spring and to take them back at the close of the season. 
Newfoundland was also debarred from the cheap pro- 
visions and marine stores which had been obtained 
from the American colonies prior to the Revolution, 
and everything had to be brought from England at 
great expense. 

Urged by the merchants of St. John's, the Governor, 
Sir Erasmus Gower, in 1805, wrote to the Secretary of 
State to the following effect : — The New England 
fisheries had increased to such a degree that they far 
exceeded those of Newfoundland. Their produce com- 
peted with Newfoundland fish in all markets, and was 
sold at lower prices. The Newfoundland catch had been 
reduced by half. The chief advantage of the Americans 
lay in their cheap provisions and outfits, and he recom- 
mended that the embargo on trade with the United 
States be removed. He also stated that the Americans 
had almost driven British-caught fish out of the British 
West Indies, having sold there in the previous year 
150,000 quintals, while Newfoundland had sold 50,000 
only, and asked that something be done to secure that 
market from American competition. 

The fisheries of Newfoundland and Labrador were still 
considered to be vitally necessary for the supply of men 
for the Navy, and Sir Erasmus Gower's representations 
at once received due consideration. His secretary, Mr. 


Joseph Trounsell, wrote to the merchants of St. John's, 
in March, 1806, sa5nng that the Lords of the Committee 
for Trade and Plantations had recommended that a 
bounty of 2s. per quintal be paid on all British-caught 
fish imported into the West Indies. This was supple- 
mented in April by a bounty of is. 6d. to 4s. per 
barrel on pickled fish. Finally a duty was imposed 
on American fish to countervail the duty which America 
had imposed on British fish. 

This was very satisfactory to the Newfoundland 
merchants until the United States retorted by placing 
a complete embargo on trade with the British North 
American colonies, thus preventing them from obtaining 
the supply of cheap provisions which was so vitally 
necessary. In 1808 considerable fears of famine were 
entertained, and provisions went to extreme prices. 
The bounty on exports to the British West Indies 
seemed to be only temporary, for in 1808 we find the 
merchants of St. John's petitioning for its continuance. 

These restrictions to trade bore very hardly also 
on the American fishing industry. It is recorded that 
in 1808 quantities offish rotted in their stores for want 
of a market. 

In 1806 the principal merchants of Conception Bay 
presented a memorial to Governor Hollow3>y calling his 
attention to the actions of the Americans who visited 
Labrador, declaring that they were indefatigable in 
their endeavours to entice away the fishermen and ser- 
vants of the merchants, and were connivars and abettors 
in robbery and fraud. Among other instances given 
was that of a crew who had been furr.ished with a brig- 
and supplies of all sorts by the firm of Goss, Chauncy, 
and Ledgard, of Carbonear, and v/ho fished at Camp 
Islands, Labrador. Owing to th^j inducements offered 


them by the captain of an American vessel, they sold 
their catch of fish and all the gear of the brig to him, 
left her to go to pieces on the rocks, and all went off to 
America. The petitioners begged that a ship of war be 
sent on the coast to put a stop to the illicit dealings of 
the Americans. 

Governor Holloway at once sent a vessel to enquire 
into the doings of the Americans on the Labrador 
coast, and apparently discovered more than the memo- 
rialists intended, as is seen by the following letter to 
the Privy Council, dated September 9th, 1907 : — 

"As His Majesty's ship Topaz is ordered to sail for 
England, I have the honour to relate a circumstance 
which I feel is of importance for the consideration of 
the Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council for 
Trade and Plantations, which I beg you will be pleased 
to lay before them. 

" The Americans that fish on the Coast of Labrador 
have long been suspected, and upon good information, 
of carrying great quantities of provisions as well as 
other contraband articles, which they sell and barter to 
the British merchants, who with great facility tranship 
them in small quantities to this Island. It has been 
usual for the Commander-in-Chief of Newfoundland to 
send vesself) to the Coast of Labrador, not only to pro- 
tect His Majesty's subjects, but the Commanders also 
have orders to prevent any illicit trade between them 
and other povt^ers. 

" The Adofiis cutter. Lieutenant McKillop, a few 
days since detained two American vessels upon correct 
information of tlheir having sold and bartered a great 
quantity of provisions and other articles, mtd had laden 
with fish not caught or cured by the people of the United 
States. They are sefit here for adjudication, where it is 


alleged they cannot be tried as the offence was com- 
mitted without the jurisdiction of this Government. If 
they are liberated it will be giving great encouragement 
to the Americans to pursue this system, which must 
prove highly injurious to His Majesty's commercial 
interests. It is impracticable at this season of the year 
to send vessels to Quebec, and it would also be attended 
with great inconvenience in the event of liberation from 
the situation of that port. 

" The Coast of Labrador was formerly annexed to 
this Government, and, I understand by my papers 
from the Admiralty, was removed to Quebec on 
account of a few grants to individuals which extend but 
to a small district. 

" I therefore humbly beg leave to suggest to their 
lordships the advantages which will arise to His 
Majesty's Government by annexing the Coast of 
Labrador to this command as the most effectual mode 
of suppressing this illicit trade, which otherwise will 
prove a great evil to the trade of Great Britain." 

A few days afterwards permission was granted to land 
the cargo of fish and sell it for the benefit of whom 
it may concern. The schooner Malita, seized " for 
breach of navigation laws of Labrador," lay in St. John's 
Harbour and rotted there, and it is probable that the 
case never came before the Admiralty Court at all. 

On November 19th, 1808, Governor Holloway, writing 
to Lord Castlereagh, asks if any decision had been 
arrived at respecting the transfer of Labrador to New- 
foundland, for " at present the most atrocious deeds 
may be committed and the offenders go unpunished, 
irregularities being constantly practised by the Ameri- 
cans who frequent the coast, which I have no authority 
to take cognizance of, although only to be detected by 


my cruisers, Quebec being too remote for the establish- 
ment of any civil or other authority. The number of 
vessels from the United States frequenting or fishing 
on the Coast of Labrador and Newfoundland have been 
but few in comparison with other years, the number 
this season not having exceeded 200 or 300." 

The seizure of this vessel is a most important occur- 
rence, and is a most valuable piece of evidence on the 
rights of American fishermen in British waters. 

At that period trade of all descriptions with the 
United States had been prohibited (28 Geo. Ill, c. 6) 
except that in case of emergency the Governor of New- 
foundland was empowered to authorize the importation 
of " bread, flour, Indian corn, and live stock." British 
subjects in Newfoundland and Labrador als3 were 
strictly prohibited from selling, to persons not British 
subjects, vessels or gear, any kind of bait, or produce of 
the fishery of any sort. 

The mhabitants of the United States, by the Treaty 
of 1783, were given the liberty to take and cure fish 
but not to purchase it, and when this vessel was fourd 
laden with fish not caught by inhabitants of the United 
States, she and her cargo were promptly confiscated. 

In 181 2 the pursuit of the fisheries by inhabitants 
of the United States on the coast of Labrador w£s 
again interrupted by war, and again the coast of 
Newfoundland was visited by numerous American 
privateers. The merchants of St. John's asked 
Admiral Keats, the Governor of Newfoundland, for 
a convoy to bring down vessels from Quebec, with 
flour and provisions, of which the country was much 
in need. But the Governor replied that he could not 
undertake this service with the little squadron which 
he had at his command. Ouite a number of Bi'itish 


merchant vessels took out letters of marque, and a 
goodly number of American prizes were brought into 
St. John's. Provvse's History of Newfoundland is 
authority for the statement that one could walk across 
the harbour of St. John's on the decks of the prizes 
which were moored there side by side. 

The merchants of St. John's, who were a very active 
body, presented a memorial to Admiral Keats, the 
Governor, at the close of the year 1813, begging that, 
when peace came to be negotiated, both the French 
and Americans should be excluded from British waters. 
It is such an interesting document that it is quoted 
here in full. It must be observed that the worthy 
merchants were careful to present their case in the 
strongest possible light, and that some of their state- 
ments were probably exaggerated : — 

To Sir Richard Goodwin Keats, K.B., Governor and 
Commander-in-Chief in and over the Island of New- 
foundland, etc. 

The Memorial of the Merchants and Principal Resident 
Inhabitants interested in the Trade and Fisheries of 
Newfoundland assembled at the Merchants Hall in 
St. John's, twenty-seventh of October, One thousand 
eight hundred and thirteen : 
Humbly sheweth, 

The Merchants, Planters and all other classes of His 
Majesty's subjects in this Island have at all times manifested 
their Loyalty to their King, and have never failed to express 
their indignation at the treacherous conduct of the enemies 
of their country. And considering that our existence as a 
great and independent nation must chiefly depend upon our 
preserving the Sovereignty of the Seas, the policy of excluding 
France and America from the advantages those nations have 


heretofore enjoyed in times of Peace, in this fishery must 
be evident to every man of observation engaged in this branch 
of commerce. 

By former treaties with France and the United States of 
America, those powers were allowed certain privileges on these 
shores, banks, coast of Labrador and in the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence, in the opinion of Your Excellency's Memorialists highly 
impolitic, and which the wisdom of the British Government 
would not coincide except under very peculiar circumstances. 

By this concession to France and America a great national 
benefit was lost, and a door opened to illicit commerce to the 
injury of the Revenue as well as to His Majesty's subjects 
engaged in the trade of Newfoundland and the British 
American Colonies. A facility was thereby afforded of intro- 
ducing into Newfoundland and those Colonies, teas and other 
articles of contraband, and temptation held out to our fisher- 
men to emigrate to the United States, and the superior 
numbers of their citizens who annually resorted to the shores 
of Labrador enabled them to control and overawe our people 
on that coast except indeed when a ship of war happened 
to be within the reach of complaint. Fifteen hundred 
American vessels have been known to be prosecuting the 
fishery at one time on the Labrador coast, bringing with them 
coffee, teas, spirits, and other articles of contraband. In 
their passage thither from their own country they generally 
stop in the Gut of Canso, where the narrowness of the navi- 
gation affords great facility to smuggling. 

The intercourse of our fishermen with these secret enemies 
of Britain has an effect not less fatal to their moral character 
than to our fishery. The small planters and catchers of fish 
which make the great body of the people on the coast of 
Labrador under the influence of notions imbibed by their 
daily intercourse with men whose interests are at war with 
ours, become dissatisfied with their supplying merchants 
who are unable to meet their foreign competitors on equal 
ground, the next step, as experience shows, is the neglect 


of the only means in their power to discharge their debts. 
Disobedience and Insubordination follows, and finally their 
minds become alienated from their own Government, and 
they emigrate to another to the great loss of their country. 

In times of Peace, besides, the citizens of the United 
States resort in great numbers to the Banks, where they 
anchor in violation of express stipulations to the great annoy- 
ance of this valuable branch of the Newfoundland trade. 
Nor is it possible that the strictest vigilance is often able to 
detect them in the breach of such stipulations. 

The evils growing out of the impolitic concessions to 
insidious friends are more extensive than Your Excellency's 
Memorialists have yet stated ; they accompany our commerce 
into the markets of Europe and the West Indies. 

In the United States, men, provisions and every other 
article of outfit are procured upon much better terms than 
the nature of things will admit of with the British. These 
combined advantages enable them to undersell the British 
merchant in the Foreign Market. Hence heavy losses have 
often by him been sustained, and must always be sustained 
under similar circumstances. 

The proof of the great national advantage heretofore 
reaped by America from the Fishery, Your Excellency's 
Memorialists not only quote the language of Massachusetts 
in June last in a remonstrance to their Government "keep 
your land, but give us a fishery." 

The French in time of tranquillity prosecuting the fishery 
at St. Pierre and Miquelon, it is well known carried on an 
extensive illicit commerce with the British residing on the 
coast contiguous to those Islands, although they pretended 
that such intercourse was contrary to a known law of their 
own country, similar illicit traffic was at the same time carried 
on by the subjects of that nation with the English on the 
coast ceded to the former on the North part of this Island. 
The entire range between Cape John, Northward to Cape 
Rea, was yielded to France, and the British were prohibited 


by the French from ever fishing between those two Capes. 
Your MemoriaHsts have learnt from good authority that 
France actually employed upon this North Shore (with St. 
Pierre and Miquelon) Twenty thousand men. Excellent 
Harbours, hardly five miles asunder, skirt the coast from 
Cape John to the Straits of Belle Isle, affording security to 
ships and vessels in the worst weather, and the great resort 
of the codfish to the very mouths of these harbours, beyond 
what is generally known upon the other shores of Newfound- 
land, evince the high advantages of the North Fishery formerly 
possessed by France. 

The fishery now prosecuted with vigour by the British 
upon the shores heretofore enjoyed by the French is become 
very extensive, and employs a large proportion of our fisher- 
men. The product of this industry is brought hither and 
carried to other ports of export coastways in vessels owned 
by the employers, and supplies of the Planters and Fishermen. 
Dwelling-houses, substantial stages and stores would soon rise 
up in that quarter of the Island, were it certain that the 
builders would at the return of Peace be allowed to retain 
their property. That valuable part of Newfoundland, fertile 
in everything for promoting a fishery, would in such an event 
form a populous district of great value to the Mother Country, 
not only as a fishery, but as it would cultivate a coasting 
navigation, at all times an important object with Government. 

And believing firmly, as your Excellency's Memorialists 
have reason to believe, and have already stated, that our 
existence as a great independent nation depends upon our 
Dominion on the Ocean, the wise policy of shutting out those 
nations now leagued in war against us from a future participa- 
tion in so important a branch of our commerce can hardly be 
made a question. 

The increased advantages since the commencement of 
hostilities with America, derived to both our Export and 
Import Trade having now no competitors in the Foreign 
Markets, and what is of the last and highest importance, the 


increase of our means to make mariners, while those of our 
enemies must in the same proportion be crippled, show the 
wisdom of preserving the " vantage ground " we now stand 
upon. And Your Excellency's Memorialists feel the more 
urgent in their present representation as the prospects which 
happily have recently opened in Europe may afford a well- 
grounded hope that the time is not very remote when negotia- 
tions may be opened for the return of permanent Peace. 

From the protection afforded to the trade of this Island 
by Your Excellency, as well as by His Excellency, Sir John 
B. Warren, a great number of fishing vessels having gone to 
Labrador from Nova Scotia, the number of men employed on 
the Labrador shores this season has been double, and the 
absence of their former intruders has enabled them to fish un- 
molested. Your Excellency's Memorialists beg to press upon 
your serious consideration, which they cannot too often urge, 
the important policy^ should fortunately the circumstances of 
Europe ultimately encourage such a hope, of wholly excluding 
foreigners from sharing again in the advantages of a fishery 
from which a large proportion of our best national defence 
will be derived. 

From the proofs Your Excellency has manifested, during 
Your Excellency's short residence in Newfoundland, of solici- 
tude for the prosperity of this trade, and from Your 
Excellency's high character, in a profession, the salvation 
and admiration of oppressed nations, and upon which we can 
rely for a continuance of that prosperity. 

Your Excellency's Memorialists confidently hope that Your 
Excellently will, on your return to England, lay this, their 
humble representation, before His Majesty's Government and 
give it that support which the high importance of the case 

(Signed) J. MacBraire, 


St. John's, Newfoundland, 
SM November, 1813. 


On April loth, 1814, Governor Keats wrote from 
England to the merchants of St. John's that their 
memorial was receiving due attention, and in the follow- 
July he himself wrote the following letter to the 
Secretary of State, supplementing the memorial of the 
merchants : — 

Memorial of Merchants and Exclusion of Foreigners 
from Fishery. 

I HAVE the honour at the request of the Merchants and 
principal Resident Inhabitants interested in the trade of 
Newfoundland, to transmit your Lordship a Memorial which I 
have received from them, calculated to call attention to the 
growing importance of the Fisheries of Newfoundland to 
afford some useful information upon that interesting subject, 
and praying that if circumstances should permit at the return 
of Peace, that our present enemies may not be allowed to 
participate in that valuable fishery. The important advantages 
that would result to Great Britain and Newfoundland by 
excluding foreign powers from any participation in the valu- 
able fisheries of that island are too well known to Your 
Lordship and His Majesty's Government to make it necessary 
for me to enter at all upon. I will delay Your Excellency 
only to remark that the quantity of fish taken this season 
exceeds that of any former year — that the number of vessels 
sent from Nova Scotia (of which no notice is taken in my 
returns) to take fish in the Straits of Belle Isle, where fleets 
were employed by the Americans, have doubled that of the 
last year, and will probably next year greatly exceed that of the 
present, that from the spirit and vigour with which prepara- 
tions are already making to pursue the fisheries (chiefly arising 
out of the American war) it is expected they will be very 
much increased next season. Connected with this subject. 
Government will have the satisfaction of seeing by the Custom 
House Returns that the imports (provisions apart) from 


Great Britain have increased since the American war, seem- 
ingly in a greater proportion than can be accounted for by 
any increase of the population, and that the 6d. per gallon duty 
on rum has of itself this year produced upwards of ;;^io,ooo. 
The readmission of America to privileges she enjoyed by 
former treaties in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, on the Coast of 
Labrador, and Newfoundland, would infallibly be felt severely 
by the Merchant, the Planter, and in the Revenues, whilst the 
worst effects would be produced by communications with a 
people so inveterately hostile and depraved, and the most 
serious losses to our country would ensue, by the valuable 
seamen and fisherman they would deprive us of. 

Fort Townsend, 
No. 25. St. John's, Newfoundland, 

27 July, 1814. 
My Lord, 

Having in my Despatch No. 18 referring to the 
Memorial transmitted from the merchants and principal 
inhabitants interested in the trade of Newfoundland, stated 
it as my opinion that the readmission of America to the 
privileges she enjoyed by Treaty, prior to the present war, 
in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the Coasts of Labrador 
and Newfoundland would be severely felt by the merchants, 
planters and in the revenue. I have the honour to detail 
more particularly the grounds on which that opinion was 
formed, conceiving they may be found to contain some 
observations not entirely undeserving notice, whenever the 
subject may come into particular consideration. 
I have the honour to be, with great respect, 
My Lord, 

Your Lordship's 
Most obedient, humble servant, 

(Signed) R. G. Keats. 

To the Right Honourable 

The Earl of Bathurst, &c. 



The Fishery carried on by America to the Northward 
most injurious to our interests seems unquestionably to be 
that on the coast of Newfoundland within the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence and particularly that on the coast of Labrador. 
To this fishery that pursued by the Americans on the Banks 
of Newfoundland was of very inferior consideration, the latter 
not employing more than three or four hundred sail of vessels 
seemed stationary, whilst the former gradually increased from 
the Peace of 1783 to the War declared by her in 181 2, at 
which period it appears from many creditable authorities 
America sent not less than 1500 vessels into the Gulf of St, 
Lawrence and upon the coast of Labrador, which at the 
moderate calculation of 10 men to a vessel would afford employ- 
ment for 15,000 men, admitting no abatement to be allowed 
for those who made second trips. 

America from her situation, the Gulf of St. Lawrence 
being cleared of ice earlier than the Straits of Belle Isle, was 
enabled to get the vessels on the Coast of Labrador before 
our Merchants and Planters who reside on the East Coast of 
Newfoundland, and whose vessels enter by the Straits of Belle 
Isle. With this advantage, and coming in such immense 
numbers, the harbours best calculated for the cod fishery were 
occupied by them to the prejudice almost to the exclusion 
of our own fishermen in places where we had no settlements, 
whilst the multitude of boats sent by them to the fishing ledges 
have been even known to create a scarcity of fish — and (the 
Gurry) the offal thrown by them into the sea (for the fish 
taken by the boats are prepared and salted on board the vessels 
at anchor in the harbours) produced the worst effects upon 
the neighbouring Salmon Fisheries, and also on the Caplin, on 
which our fishermen principally depend for Bait, and this 
practice, which at the first view it should seem would be 
equally injurious to the Americans was less felt by them, 
as they commonly came prepared with clams, and salted bait. 
Our planters and fishermen complain that their nets were 


continually cut by them ; that they could not leave anything 
on their Sealing Posts without a strong guard, which they 
could not afford, and that the woods are set fire, too, by them 
(which numerous ineffectual proclamations have been issued 
by the Governors to prevent) in order to deprive our fisher- 
men of the Means of making and repairing their flakes and 
other fishing conveniences. 

Against practices of this vicious nature complaints, as the 
Americans were commonly the most numerous, were disre- 
garded and treated with insult. 

Indisputably it never was the intention of Government to 
grant to America a right on our Coasts, which, from the 
advantages she possesses from her situation and produce, could 
be exercised to the extinction or the serious disadvantage of 
our own fisheries. But the loose and undefined manner 
in which the 3rd Article of the Treaty of 1783 is expressed 
with the abuses already and hereafter noticed, which have been 
practised by the Americans, expose our Merchants and Planters 
to difficulties to whom an unqualified renewal of the 3rd 
Article of the Treaty would inevitably prove highly injurious. 

The Americans claim and dispute with us the Right of the 
Salmon Fishery, which is properly a River fishery, and by 
setting their nets at the mouths of the rivers prevent half 
the fish from entering to lay their spawn. 

They are also in the habit of sending Light Ships from 
America to some of the harbours on the Labrador, par- 
ticularly Labrador Harbour, Red Bay, and Cape Charles, 
which receive the fish caught and prepared by them on the 
coast, and take it with what they procure clandestinely from 
our Boatkeepers by Purchase or Barter, for they come pre- 
pared with money and goods for that purpose, and thus 
become the Carriers of a proportion of our own fish to 
the Market. 

The Trade and Revenue of the Island equally with the 
Planter are exposed to great and serious losses — an evil 
which will grow with the rapidly increasing population of 


Newfoundland — for the Americans are enabled to undersell 
our Merchants in Bread, Flour, Salt, Provisions, Teas, Rum, 
Tobacco, etc. The articles are smuggled into the Country 
and bartered for fish taken by our Boatkeepers, and the 
facilities which such an unrestrained communication with 
our Coasts and Harbours afford for Smuggling and other 
clandestine practices are such that no vigilance on the part 
of the Men of War can prevent. A serious grievance arises 
from the quantity of New England Rum with which at low 
price they are enabled to supply our Boatkeepers, fisher- 
men, and servants, which never fails to have a sensible 
and unfavourable effect at the season at which Industry 
and Exertion are peculiarly requisite to enable the Boatkeeper 
to pay for the supplies with which he has been furnished by 
the Planter. 

The number of valuable men annually seduced from 
their employers and taken away by the Americans is a source 
of national as well as private injury, and with a people so 
democratic, so insulting and offensive in their conduct and 
behaviour, it were perhaps desirable to lessen our com- 
munications as much as circumstances may permit. 

America, jealous in the extreme of what she calls her 
waters, a right she claims and is labouring to establish to 
the extent of Forty Miles from her coast, can, on no fair 
principle, it should seem, claim of us the privilege to enter 
our Bays, Creeks, and Harbours, and to use them to the 
injury of our Merchants and Planters and to the prejudice 
of the Revenues — if on her principle we establish our right 
of what she terms waters — to only half the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence and the valuable fisheries on the Coast of New- 
foundland and Labrador. If we keep her only three miles 
from the Coast a very considerable and perhaps sufficient 
advantage will be secured to our own fisheries. 

Whatever may be the determination of His Majesty's 
Government respecting these fisheries on the return of 
peaceful relations with America, explanations in any event 


respecting the unwarranted pretensions of the Americans 
herein noticed it is presumable will take place, and although 
in the unfortunate event of their readmission into the Gulf 
of St. Lawrence, and on the Coasts of Newfoundland and 
Labrador, it is probable no foresight could effectually secure 
His Majesty's subjects from considerable interruption and 
annoyance in their occupations, it is nevertheless to be 
hoped some regulations will take place which shall be found 
to check, if not entirely remove the evils represented. And 
it should seem from the annoyance which the French also 
experienced from the Americans on those parts of the Coast 
on which they formerly had the right to fish, that in the 
event of their readmission to their former privilege, that that 
nation would also feel a corresponding interest in keeping the 
Americans from their coast and fishermen. 

Connected in some degree with the present subject, I beg 
leave to close it with an opinion arising as well from my own 
observations as that of some previous persons on whose infor- 
mation and judgment I have reliance : That on the return of 
Peace no necessity will exist in Newfoundland for any com- 
munication whatever with the United States. From Canada, 
Nova Scotia, and the Mother Country all necessary supplies 
of Provisions and Lumber may be drawn. With some en- 
couragement Newfoundland might be made to supply herself 
with lumber and even to send to the West Indies, nor is it by 
any means certain that she could not be made useful in 
affording some supplies to our Dock Yards of Timber and 
Spars applicable for Naval Purposes. 

(Signed) R. G. Keats. 

Fort Townsend, St. John's, 

Newfoundland, 21 th Jtdy, 1814. 

The representations of the merchants seemed to have 
had effect, for when negotiations for peace were entered 
into, the British Commissioners declared in the most 
positive v/ay, that " the British Government did not 


intend to grant to the United States gratuitously the 
privileges formerly granted to them of fishing in British 
waters." The American Commissioners also were in- 
structed on no account to suffer their right to the 
fisheries to be brought into the discussion. Neverthe- 
less, the matter was discussed very freely, but the British 
held to their determination and no mention of Fishery 
Concessions was made in the Treaty of Ghent of 1814. 

Lord Bathurst, Secretary of State, wrote to Governor 
Keats on June 17th, 18 15, instructing him on the new 
state of affairs. He said that the war of 181 2 had 
cancelled all privileges, and that subjects of the United 
States could have no pretence to any right to fish 
within British jurisdiction. In regard to the banks and 
open sea fisheries, the Americans were not to be dis- 
turbed, but they were to be rigidly excluded from the 
" Bays, Harbours, Rivers, Creeks, and Inlets of His 
Majesty's possessions." 

The Americans set up the peculiar plea that the war 
of 18 12 had not abrogated their rights under the Treaty 
of 1783, which they declared to be inalienable, and their 
fishino' vessels began at once to invade British waters. 
In 18 1 5 a company was formed at Gloucester, Massa- 
chusetts, to carry on the cod fishery on the Grand 
Banks and Labrador, and twelve vessels were built. 

JSlote. — The following opinion on this vexed question 
is taken from Hall on Treaties, 1895, a standard 
authority on International Law : — 

"After the war of 18 12 it was a matter of dispute 
whether the article dealing with these privileges (Treaty 
of 1783) was merely regulatory, or whether it operated 
by way of a grant ; its effect being in the one case 
merely suspended by war, while in the other the article 
was altogether abrogated. On the part of the United 


States, it was argued that the Treaty of 1783 recog- 
nized the right of fishery, of which it is subject, as a 
right which having, before the independence of the 
United States, been enjoyed in common by all the 
inhabitants of the British possessions in North America 
■ as attendant on the territory, remained attendant, after 
the acquisition of independence, upon that portion of 
the territory which became the United States, in com- 
mon with that which still lay under the dominion of 

" By England, on the other hand, it was as distinctly 
maintained that the claim of an independent State to 
occupy and use at its discretion any part of the terri- 
tory of another without compensation or corresponding 
indulgence, cannot rest on any other foundation than 
conventional stipulation. The controversy was put an 
end to by a treaty in 18 18 in which the indefensible 
American pretension was abandoned, and fishing rights 
were accepted by the United States as having been 
acquired by contract." 

Governor Keats gave instructions to the captains of His 
Majesty's ships to carry out the regulations laid down 
by Lord Bathurst, but on the Newfoundland and Labra- 
dor coasts the records note only one American vessel 
found trespassing, which left immediately on being dis- 
covered. Not so on the Nova Scotian coasts, where a 
good many seizures were made, some of which at least 
were entirely unjustifiable. A strained condition of 
affairs was produced again, and when the President of 
the United States proposed that negotiations should be 
opened for the amicable settlement of the disputed 
fishery matters, the British Government weakly ac- 

In 1 8 16 Lord Bathurst informed Admiral Pickmore, 


who had become Governor of Newfoundland, that His 
Majesty's Ambassador at Washington, the Hon. 
Charles Bagot, had been authorized to enter into 
negotiations and to conclude some arrangement by 
which inhabitants of the United States were to par- 
ticipate in the fisheries within British Dominions, and 
to have a modified use of British territory. We can 
imagine the consternation the news must have caused 
in the British North American colonies. 

Admiral Pickmore was also directed to be governed 
by any instructions he might receive on the matter from 
Mr. Bagot. This gentleman, however, wrote from 
Washington in January, 1817, that the negotiations had 
been brought to a close by the rejection of the English 

On May 12th of that year. Lord Bathurst informed 
Admiral Pickmore that temporary permission had been 
granted to the Americans, for one season only, to pursue 
the fisheries in any unoccupied harbours, bays, etc. of 
British territories. Encouraged by this permission 
considerable numbers of American vessels visited 
Labrador that season. The town of Newbury port alone 
is said to have sent sixty-five vessels to the coast. 

During the wars with France and America, Newfound- 
land enjoyed very prosperous times. Being relieved 
from the competition of both French and Americans, 
the Newfoundland merchants had a monopoly of the 
European markets, and very high prices were obtained 
for fish. Considerable inflation took place in New- 
foundland, and a great increase was made in the resident 
population, chiefly by the influx of a number of poor 
Irish settlers. 

When peace was declared, competition immediately 
began again, and prices declined so enormously that 


commercial disaster overtook all interested in the 
Newfoundland fisheries. The new surplus population 
could not be employed, and during the years 1 8 16-17 
the greatest distress prevailed all over Conception Bay, 
as well as in St. John's. The poorer classes were on the 
verge of starvation, and robberies and riots were frequent 
and serious. To add to the trouble, a disastrous fire 
took place in St. John's in November, 18 16, and 
thousands of people were rendered homeless. The 
Imperial Parliament granted ^10,000 to relieve the dis- 
tress, and the merchants of Boston most generously sent 
a cargo of provisions, which arrived in the nick of time. 

A committee of the House of Commons was appointed 
to enquire into the state of the trade in Newfoundland 
in 1 8 17. Their report, dated June i6th of that year, 
forms most interesting reading. Many merchants in- 
terested in the Newfoundland trade were examined. 
The principal reasons vouchsafed for the prevalent 
distress were, first, the competition from the French, 
who gave large bounties on fish ; and second, the in- 
creased duties on British fish in Spain and Italy. The 
remedy proposed was that a bounty of two shillings 
per quintal should be given on all fish exported from 
Newfoundland so long as the French should continue to 
give bounties. 

The picture drawn of the distress in Newfoundland, 
both from the personal experience of the testators and 
from letters received from Newfoundland, is pitiable. 
These were undoubtedly some of Newfoundland's darkest 

But the evidence which interests us most at this time 
is that given by Mr, George Kemp as to the American 
fishery prior to the war of 181 2, and the view then 
taken of their rights under the Treaty of 1783. Mr. 


Kemp was a merchant of Poole, largely interested in the 
Newfoundland trade, and had resided there for many- 

Being questioned as to the size of the American 
fishery, he made the statement, which originated in the 
protest of the St. John's merchants in 1809, that he had 
heard there were 1500 vessels employed, but did not 
think it credible. He referred to regulations which had 
been made \.o prevetit the Americans coming near to the 
coast of Nezvfoundland, which they had endeavoured to 
do, as it greatly facilitated their export of fish. He 
did not think this illicit business of the Americans had 
been as great as that of the present French fishery 
which was duly authorized. 

Being asked if the Americans employed vessels in 
the fishery on the French coast as well as on the other 
coasts of Newfoundland, he stated that they were not 
allowed to come round to that part of the French coast 
on the front of the island, but understood that their 
fishery was carried on principally in the Straits of Belle 
Isle, and on what is called the back part of Newfound- 
land, but their privilege of fishing was ahvays guarded 
by being kept at a suitable distance off the coast. That 
communication with that part of the coast was not 
frequent, and ships employed by the Government 
would not go round so often to prevent their fishing 
there as in other parts. On the front of the island 
they were more easily discovered by His Majesty's 

We have already heard from other sources that the 
Americans gave all their attention to the Labrador 
fishery, but it appears from Mr. Kemp's evidence that 
attempts had been made by them to come into the 
inshore waters and use the shores of Newfoundland 


in order to facilitate the export of fish. That such 
attempts were prevented, and that they were always 
kept at a suitable distance from the coast, is most 
valuable evidence that the term " coasts of Newfound- 
land " was strictly interpreted at that time. 

The temporary permission of 1817 was renewed again 
for the season of 1 818. Capt. Shiffner, of H.M.S. Drake, 
who was stationed on the Labrador coast, reported that 
no less than four hundred American vessels had been 
on that coast during the season. He found that they 
were continually exceeding the privileges given them, 
by trespassing in occupied bays and harbours. He had 
warned off six vessels which he had found so trespassing, 
but was informed that when he left they returned to the 
places from which he had sent them. 

On the Newfoundland coasts two vessels only were 
reported, the schooners Hannah and Juno, which were 
found carrying on a whale fishery in Hermitage and 
St. Mary's Bays, and having taken some whales had 
gone into occupied harbours, and even landed, for 
the purpose of trying out the fat. They were seized 
by H.M.S. Egeria and sent to St, John's under prize 
crews. The Ju7io soon arrived there, and was very 
leniently dealt with, being released with a caution. The 
Hannah did not put in her appearance, having been 
retaken by the captain and two mates, and the prize 
crew sent on shore in a boat.^ 

The Legislature of Novia Scotia, in 1818, prepared 
an elaborate protest against the renewal of any fishing 
privileges to Americans, particularly contending against 

^ Sir Charles Hamilton wrote to Earl Bathurst, August 28th, 1818, in- 
forming him of the capture of these two vessels, and saying that he 
intended to release them after exacting an engagement from their captains 
to leave the Bays and Harboins of Newfoundland and not to return, or to 
use the shore for purposes connected with the fishing. 


the use of the Gut of Canso by American vessels bound 
to the Gulf of St Lawrence and Labrador. A copy- 
was sent to the Acting Governor of Newfoundland, 
Capt. Bowker, asking for a joint protest to be sent from 
there ; but as the Newfoundland merchants had already- 
made their protest, no further action seems to have 
been taken at that time, 

June 20, 18 1 8. 

Copy of Memorial from Council and Assembly of Nova 
Scotia to Lord DalJiousie. 

To His Excellency Lieutenant General the Right Hon. 
George Earl of Dalhousie, Baron Dalhousie, of Dal- 
housie Castle, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honour- 
able Military Order of the Bath, Lieutenant Governor 
and Commander-in-Chief in and over His Majesty's 
Province of Nova Scotia and its Dependencies, etc. 

The Address of His Majesty's Council and the House of the 

May it please Your Excellency 

That His Majesty's subjects, the people of this 
province, anxiously hope that His Majesty's Government 
will take effectual steps to prevent foreign fishing vessels from 
resorting under any pretence to the harbours, rivers, creeks 
and bays on the sea coast of Novia Scotia and such parts of 
the shores of the Bay of Fundy as are within His Majesty's 
Dominions, and of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Prince Edward 
Island, Cape Breton and the Magdalen Islands, the Labrador 
Shore and the Straits of Belle Isle, and also to prohibit them 
from taking fish of any kind within the said harbours, bays, rivers 
and creeks, or upon the banks and shores contiguous thereto. 

Whatever right foreigners may have to take fish in the 
open waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the people of this 
province conceive they cannot have a right to enter the said 


Gulf through the narrow strait or passage which separates 
Nova Scotia from Cape Breton, it being unquestionably a 
part of the territory of the Crown, into which foreigners can 
have no right to enter, as it is an arm of the sea extending in 
length between both shores about twenty-one miles and in 
width not more than one mile in the widest part, and about 
half a mile in the narrowest part, and foreigners if excluded 
from this inlet can have no right to complain, as they have 
free access into the said Gulf through the open sea that lies 
between Cape Breton and Newfoundland, and the people of 
this province consider the Straits of Belle Isle in like manner 
the exclusive property of the Crown. 

That His Majesty's subjects the people of this Province 
are of opinion that foreigners can have no more right to pass 
into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, or into the Bay of Fundy for 
the purpose of taking fish therein, or within the line which 
separates the territory of His Majesty's in the last-mentioned 
Bay from the territory of the United States than His Majesty's 
subjects have a right to pass into the Bay of Chesapeake or 
Bay of Delaware for the purpose of taking fish. 

That British fishermen are in a great measure excluded 
from the most valuable fisheries on the Labrador shore under 
pretence of exclusive privileges which the North West Com- 
pany and other Companies and individuals claim under 
certain pretended leases made to them by His Majesty's 
Government in Lower Canada, whereby they monopolize the 
exclusive right of Hunting and Fishing on a vast extent of the 
Labrador shore, and under Colour of these unjust monopolies 
foreigners obtain the liberty of hunting and fishing on these 
shores to the exclusion of His Majesty's subjects, and the 
same evil arises from the improvident grants which have been 
made of the Magdalen Islands. 

That since the last peace with the United States of America, 
foreign fishing vessels resort as they did before the War to 
the Harbours, Rivers and Creeks on the Labrador shore in 
numbers so far exceeding the British Fishing Vessels that 


British subjects can only fish there at the will and pleasure of 
foreigners, they being unable to resist their superior force and 

That foreign vessels also resort to all the other Harbours, 
Rivers and Creeks on the sea coast of British North America 
the same as they did previous to the last war with the United 
States, which is totally subversive of the rights of His Majesty 
and destructive of the best interests of His subjects. 

We pray Your Excellency to move His Majesty's Govern- 
ment for such instructions as will clearly describe what are 
the rights of the Crown as touching the premises, and the 
course to be pursued to prevent foreigners from infringing 
such rights, and on behalf of the people of this Province, we 
engage they will use their utmost endeavours to maintain and 
defend the same. 

We also pray Your Excellency to call the attention of His 
Majesty's Government, and the Governor General of the 
North American Colonies to the destructive monopolies 
claimed on the Labrador shore, and the improvident grants 
made of the Magdalen Islands, so that proper steps may be 
taken to remove all impediments to the fishery of His 
Majesty's subjects under such Rules and Regulations as His 
Majesty's Government may think proper to establish. 

And we further pray Your Excellency to request the 
Admirals Commanding in Chief on the North American and 
Newfoundland stations to use their best endeavours to ex- 
clude foreigners from the Fisheries which belong exclusively 
to British subjects, and to prevent every infringement of 
the Maritime and Territorial rights of His Majesty's North 
American Colonies. 

In the behalf of the Council, 

(Signed) S. S. Blowers, President. 
A true copy. 

(Signed) Henry H. Cogswell, D. Secy. 

In behalf of the House of Assembly, 

(Signed) S. B. Robie, Speaker. 


This fact cannot be too strongly accentuated, that 
during the long period of thirty-five years, from 1783 to 
1 8 18, there is no account of American vessels fishing 
in the bays and harbojirs of Newfoundland, except 
the two whalers above mentioned. Nor is there any 
evidence to be found that they even took advantage, 
to any extent, of their privileges of fishing on " the 
coasts of Newfoundland, such as British fishermen shall 
use." This is not surprising, when it is considered that 
at that period the Americans were freely permitted to 
fish in the bays, harbours, and creeks of the other British 
provinces, that their route was always through the Gut 
of Canso, thus affording an easy approach to the west 
and northern shores of the Gulf of St, Lawrence, 
and thence to the practically virgin fishing grounds 
of Labrador. Mr. Kemp's evidence in 18 17 makes it 
clear that they were reported on the west coast of the 
island only, that His Majesty's ships were employed 
in keeping them at a suitable distance off the coast, 
and that any approach thereto was considered illegal. 

Negotiations for a renewal of the fishing privileges 
to the Americans were continued, until finally a Con- 
vention was signed in London in 181 8, which renewed 
in part the liberty they had formerly enjoyed. 

Article i of this Convention reads in part : — 

" The inhabitants of the United States shall have for 
ever, in common with the subjects of His Britanick 
Majesty, the liberty to take fish of every kind on that 
part of the southern coast of Newfoundland from Cape 
Ray to the Ramea Islands, on the western and northern 
coast of Newfoundland from the said Cape Ray to 
Quirpon Islands, on the Shores of the Magdalen Islands, 
and also on the coasts, bays, harbours, and creeks from 
Mount Joly on the southern coast of Labrador, to and 


through the Straits of Belle Isle, and thence north- 
wardly indefinitely along the coast, without prejudice, 
however, to any of the exclusive rights of the Hudson 
Bay Company ; and that the American fishermen shall 
also have liberty for ever to dry and cure fish in any 
of the unsettled bays, harbours, and creeks of the 
southern part of the coast of Newfoundland, hereabove 
described, and of the coasts of Labrador." 

Volumes have been written as to the correct meaning 
of the above clause, and it will be a relief to all con- 
cerned to have a definite interpretation given to it by 
the Hague Tribunal, to which the question has now 
been referred. 

It is naturally impossible here to enter upon any 
lengthy explanation of the various contentions which 
have been advanced by both sides as to the meaning of 
this Treaty, but it is thought necessary to state as shortly 
as possible what the principal British claims are: — 

1. That the right was given to bona fide inhabitants 
of the United States only. 

2. That the inhabitants of the United States using 
the privileges granted to them are bound to abide by 
the regulations made for the conduct of the fisheries 
by the sovereign power. 

3. That the terms " coasts of Newfoundland," " shores 
of the Magdalen Islands," and " coasts, bays, harbours, 
and creeks" of Labrador have a distinct meaning, and 
that under the first term a purely coast fishery only 
is intended, and does not give any right to fish in bays 
or arms of the sea in Newfoundland, 

It is a curious circumstance that each one of these 
contentions has been either admitted or contended by 
the United States when it suited their purpose so to do. 


At the Halifax Fishery Commission in 1877, Ameri- 
can counsel argued persistently for contentions i and 3. 
Then the United States were being assessed for the 
value of the privilege of free fishing given by the 
Treaty of Washington, 1871, and they claimed that 
the bill should be lessened, because large numbers of 
Nova Scotians went each year to Gloucester and 
shipped as crews on United States vessels 07i shares. 
They claimed also that they should not be assessed for 
the Newfoundland frozen herring fishery because they 
did not avail themselves of the privilege of taking 
herring themselves, but always bought the herring, that 
the fishery was essentially a strand fishery, and the 
Treaty of 18 18 did not permit them to go ashore and 
seine herring. They claimed the herring fishery at the 
Magdalen Islands as a right under the Treaty of 18 18, 
because they were by that Treaty permitted to use the 
" shores " of the Magdalen Islands. 

In respect to contention 2, American fishermen have 
been again and again instructed to respect local fishery 
laws when made for the bona fide protection of the 
fishery, particularly in March, 1856, by letter from the 
Department of State, Washington, to the Collector of 
Customs at Boston, and again by Secretary Bayard in 
the same year. On this point it is interesting to note 
the early instructions given to officers of His Majesty's 
ships on the Fishery Protection Service. 

When the first Circuit Court started for the Labrador 
in August, 1826, Governor Holloway wrote as follows 
to Captain Patterson, the newly appointed Judge for 
that district : — 

" At the same time that I recommend the most con- 
ciliatory and friendly conduct on the part of yourself 
and all attached to your Court or under your authority. 


towards the subjects of the United States whilst en- 
gaged in the fishery secured to them by the Treaty, 
you will bear in mind that whilst they are employed 
within your jurisdiction they are equally amenable to 
the laws with any of His Majesty's subjects, and that 
the same measure of Justice is to be dealt to them as 
to any others infringing the rights of individuals or 
disturbing the public peace." 

On comparing the Treaties of 1783 and 181 8, it will be 
noticed that no reference is made in the latter to the ob- 
vious right of the United States to the open sea fisheries, 
and that the liberty to take fish on the coasts of New- 
foundland was not qualified by the words " such as the 
British fishermen shall use," but the said coasts were 
carefully delineated, and instead of being such parts 
of the coast as were particularly reserved for British 
fishermen, were principally those parts of the island 
on which the French had a concurrent right of fishery. 

No one reading these treaties, the protests made 
against them, and instructions for their enforcement, 
can suppose that the different expressions used, in 
describing the various localities, were purely fortuitous. 

The Bays, Harbours, Creeks, and Rivers of Newfound- 
land ivere carefully resei'ved, as were also the rivers 
of Labrador. 

If the term "Coast of Newfoundland" includes 
" Bays, Harbours, and Creeks," it can also be made to 
include rivers and lakes, which is a reductio ad 

It is interesting in this discussion to note the letter 
of President Monroe to the Secretary of State, June 
2ist, 1815. He says: "It is sufficient to observe here 
that the right of the United States to take fish on the 
Coast of Newfoundland, and on the coasts, bays, and 


creeks of all other His Britannic Majesty's dominions 
in America, and to dry and cure fish in any of the un- 
settled bays, harbours, and creeks of Nova Scotia, 
Magdalen Islands, and Labrador," etc., which proves 
conclusively that he thoroughly understood that their 
rights in Newfoundland waters were more restricted 
than in the other Provinces. Also, it is somewhat 
mortifying to find that the Americans were prepared to 
accept less than they obtained. The letter of instruc- 
tions from the Secretary of State to Messrs. Gallatin 
and Rush of July 28th, 1818, reads : — 

" The President authorizes you to agree to an article 
whereby the United States will desist from the liberty 
of fishing and curing and drying fish within British 
Jurisdiction generally upon condition that it shall be 
secured as a permanent right, not liable to be impaired 
by any future war, from Cape Ray to the Rameau 
Islands, and from Mount Joli on the Labrador Coast, 
through the Strait of Belle Isle, indefinitely north 
along the coast ; the right to extend as well to curing 
and drying the fish as to fishing." 

Immediately after the signing of the Convention of 
1 81 8, United States vessels began to flock to Labrador, 
where they had full permission to use the in-shore fish- 
eries and to dry their fish upon land ; the more liberal 
privileges granted on this coast being undoubtedly the 
reason for the fishery there being more actively pursued 
than in Newfoundland waters. 

Captain H. Robinson, of H.M.S. Favourite, on the 
Fishery Protection Service in 1820, kept a private 
journal while on the coast, abstracts from which were 
printed in the journal of the Royal Geographical Society. 
Respecting the Labrador fisheries, he says : — 
2 B 


" The American fishermen sail from all the northern 
ports of the Union. As nearly as could be computed 
there were 530 sail of them this year, generally 
schooners, but some few brigs and sloops, and manned 
with crews of nine to thirteen men. Eleven would be 
a full average, giving 5830 as the number of men em- 
ployed. One hundred quintals of fish per man is a full 
average of their catch, with oil in the proportion of one 
ton to every three hundred quintals. The Americans 
clean their fish on board, and thus leave the coast early. 
They use much salt, and their fish is considered inferior 
to our best. They are expert and industrious fisher- 
men, generally preferring the northern part of the 
coast, but following the fish wherever they are to be 
found. They receive a bounty from their Government 
in the shape of a drawback on the salt used, and they 
fish in shares ; a merchant in America furnishing the 
vessel and one-third of the boats, nets, lines, and salt ; 
the crew furnishing their own provisions (which are of a 
very frugal description), and the remaining two-thirds 
of the boats, nets, lines, and salt. They divide in the 
same proportions, and the system is said to answer 

That Captain Robinson was not an accurate observer, 
or that the editor of his journal was very careless, the 
very next paragraph clearly indicates. It reads : — 

" The French are much less successful fishermen, and 
do not very much frequent the Labrador shore, though 
they have some permanent stations on it." 

This is absolutely incorrect, for after 1763 the French 
never had the right of fishing on the Labrador coast, 
and captains of His Majesty's ships on the station 
were always particularly instructed to guard against 


any encroachments there. It seems impossible that 
Captain Robinson could have made the mistake, so 
we must attribute it to his editor. 

The Colonial Records of 18 19 state that no United 
States vessels had availed themselves of their privileges 
on the Newfoundland coast, but that on the Labrador 
they had carried on the fishery with great spirit. In 
1820 the same observation is made, with additional par- 
ticulars of the same tenor as those quoted above, which 
were no doubt furnished by Capt. Robinson. Troubles 
between British and American fishermen immediately 
arose. In 1820 the merchants of St. John's presented a 
memorial to the Governor complaining that they had 
been interrupted in the fishery carried on by them at 
various rivers and harbours on the Labrador by the 
Americans, and asked for redress. In 1820 Samuel 
Gordon, fishing at Chimney Tickle, complained that an 
American had invaded his harbour and sailed through 
his nets, causing him considerable loss. 

In 1820 Admiral Sir Chas. Hamilton, Governor of 
Newfoundland, issued a proclamation forbidding stran- 
gers to lay down their nets within three miles either 
way of the rivers or entrances of harbours in which pro- 
prietary interest had been established by long usage. 
It is not recorded that he consulted Washington before 
taking the step. 

Complaint was made in 182 1 that the Americans 
fishing at Greenly and Wood Islands, in the Straits of 
Belle Isle, were injuring the fisheries b}^ throwing gurry 
and offal overboard on the fishing grounds. The Captain 
of the man-of-war on the station was requested to check 
the grievance. 

The same year an act of piracy was committed by the 
crew of the Newfoundland schooner Maria, fishing at 


Chateau. They seized the vessel and cargo, and sailed 
off for the States in company with some American 
vessels which were fishing there at the same time. 
These Americans were accused of aiding and abetting 
the absconders by supplying the American flag which 
they had hoisted, and also by giving them a pilot to 
take charge of the vessel. The English Ambassador 
at Washington was requested to endeavour to have the 
pirates and their assistants arrested. For some reason 
unexplained, the number of American vessels on the 
Labrador was not so great as usual that year. 

The merchants again felt the force of the American 
competition. In 1822 they presented a memorial to the 
Governor saying that the Treaty with America, con- 
cluded October 20th, 1818, had prostrated all their hopes, 
and rendered the return to their former prosperity for- 
ever impossible. The remedy they asked for was that 
St, John's should be made a free port, which was 

The Governor, Sir Chas. Hamilton, reports in 1823 
as follows : — 

" The subjects of the United States continue to prose- 
cute their fishery along the coast of Labrador with great 
perseverance ; but it may be proper, as so much stress 
has been laid upon the concession made to that people 
by the Convention of October 20, 1818, and the fatal 
effects likely to result from it, to repeat what I have 
before stated to your Lordships, that the Americans 
never yet (that I have been able to learn) availed them- 
selves of the privilege granted them of drying and 
curing their fish on the unsettled harbours of New- 
foundland between Cape Ray and Ramea Islands, nor 
have I understood that they have any vessels on that 


A curious controversy arose about this time between 
the French and the Americans in respect to their rights 
in Newfoundland waters. French cruisers had ordered 
United States vessels from the western coast of New- 
foundland, and when the American Ambassador pro- 
tested against this action, the French replied claiming 
an exclusive right of fishing on that part of the coast. 
They also pleaded that the United States by treaty in 
1778, and again in 1800, had agreed not to interrupt 
the French in pursuit of the fisheries to which they had 
been long entitled. These treaties, however, had been 
abrogated by the United States, and the American 
Ambassador replied that the French had only a con- 
current right with the English, in which the Americans 
were also to share. 

Sir Charles Hamilton, commenting on this cor- 
respondence, stated that in his opinion the cod fishery 
on the coast remained as much a right of both parties 
(English and French) as that of the Grand Banks. 
He was of opinion, however, that the English should 
not interfere with the French on shore by erecting 
stages or flakes. He stated that the coast was little 
used by any nation, and was immaterial to the United 
States, which enjoyed so much better fishing stations 
on the south coast, and also on the productive and 
extensive Labrador. 

It is difficult to ascertain from American sources 
the extent of the Labrador fishing industry after this 
time. Newburyport seems to have been the centre 
of the industry, and to have had as many as sixty 
vessels employed in it at various periods from 18 18 
to i860. Other New England towns had from two 
to four vessels which went to Labrador. In 1827 the 
Admiral in command of the fleet in Newfoundland 


reported that about 1600 American vessels with 12,000 
to 14,000 men had been fishing in the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence and on the coast of Labrador ; 400 of them 
had dried their fish on the Magdalen Islands by- 
agreement with the people, which he pointed out was 
entirely contrary to the treaty. The business is 
said to have been at its height about 1840, and then 
to have declined rapidly, until in 1870 not a single 
vessel sailed for that coast Not that the fisheries 
had failed, for there is no instance of a vessel having 
returned without a paying cargo. The fish were 
taken principally by seines. Some of it was made 
on the coast and shipped from there to market, and 
some was brought to the States to be cured and 
dried. Bilbao was the principal market, for which 
reason the fish was generally known as Bilbao fish.^ 

As the average exportation of codfish from the 
States for thirty years, 18 18 to 1848, was only 250,000 
quintals, and the Grand Bank was always the principal 
fishing ground, it will be seen that the estimates of 
500,000 to 600,000 as the American Labrador catch 
were probably greatly in excess of the actual quantity. 

In John MacGregor's British America it is stated 
that in 1829 there were 500 American vessels and 
15,000 men fishing on the Labrador, and that their 

^ From an Inquiry into the Fresetti State of Tf'ade in Newfoundland, 
1825, we learn that the admission of American citizens into tlie British 
fisheries was one of the chief causes assigned for the then depression in trade. 
''Amoicans have many advantages over British fisliermen ; tliey obtain 
their outfits at a cheaper rate ; tliey have certain local encouragements 
in the way of bounties ; they have a home market for their fish ; they 
have the means of employment during the winter, and are not compelled 
to charge the expenses of the whole year upon the labour of a few months 
in the fishing season — advantages more than sufiicienr. to counterljalance 
the facilities of our local situation." The Americans are represented as 
standing by, watching the decline of England's oldest colony with glee, 
intending to reap great advantage from her ruin. 


catch amounted to 1,100,000 quintals cod and 3000 tons 
of oil. But this is palpably very much over-estimated. 

We learn from the report of Elias Rendell, who 
was sent to collect duties on the Labrador in 1840, 
that a great deal of smuggling was carried on between 
the American and Newfoundland vessels, especially in 
bad rum. In the same year Captain Milne, H.M.S. 
Crocodile, on the Fishery Protection Service, reported 
that there were about a hundred American vessels 
fishing between Black Islands (lat. 54°), and Blanc 
Sablon. He also reports that a large amount of 
smuggling was done between the American and New- 
foundland vessels, and urges that more vessels be 
sent upon the Fishery Protection Service. 

In 1852 Captain Cochrane, H.M.S. Sappho, reported 
that the number of American vessels on the coast 
was fewer than usual, probably about 150, and that 
they fished principally about Sandwich Bay and 
Cape Harrison. Mr. J. Finlay, of the Newfoundland 
Fishery Protection Service, in the same year said : — 

" The number of vessels belonging to the United 
States, as well as the neighbouring provinces, every 
year engaged in trading on the coast of Labrador 
is immense, and their dealings to an almost incredible 
extent. The resident population on these coasts draw 
their supplies principally from these traders, whilst 
the transient fishermen have an opportunity to dispose 
of their produce with great advantage to themselves. 
These adventurers have now monopolized the entire 
trading business ; they pay neither duties nor taxes 
of any description, although they unquestionably come 
within the jurisdiction of this Government. I would 
beg leave to bring to the notice of the Executive the 
great necessity of appointing Magistrates for the coast 


of Labrador, who shall also be duly invested with 
power to collect duties," 

The great ornithologist, Audubon, spent the summer 
of 1833 on the Labrador side of the Straits of Belle 
Isle. Passing through the Straits of Canso he saw 
twenty odd sail of American schooners bound for 
Labrador. At Bras d'Or, later in the season, there 
were 150 sail of vessels, Nova Scotian and American. 
He estimated that the Americans were the most 
numerous on the coast, and mentions that Eastport, 
Maine, sent out a goodly fleet each year. 

No definite reason has been given for the decline of 
the American fishery on the Labrador coast. G. Brown- 
Goode offers the following explanation : — 

" Two reasons for the abandonment of these grounds 
by American vessels are mentioned : 

" I. The demand in American markets for larger fish 
than can be found on the Labrador coast ; the exportation 
of salt codfish, for which the small fish were formerly 
preferred, having fallen into the hands of the British 
provinces and Norway. 

" 2. The introduction of trawling upon the off-shore 
grounds, which has been accomplished by improvements 
in the fishing vessels, the capture of larger fish, and in an 
increase of skill and daring on the part of our fishermen, 
so that it is now unnecessary for our fleet to go so far 
from home, or engage in voyages when the vessels He in 
harbour while fishing, since fares of higher-priced fish can 
be readily obtained on the banks lying off our coast." 

A few United States vessels have frequented the 
Labrador coasts in recent years, but the fishing carried 
on by them is quite unimportant. 


The important trade in frozen herring, which is carried 
on in the long arms of the sea of Bay of Islands and 
Bonne Bay, had its origin in an almost accidental 
occurrence. Previous to 1854, the year of the Recipro- 
city Treaty, which gave to the Americans the unrestricted 
right to use all British waters, the frozen herring trade 
was unknown. In that year, an adventurous skipper, 
Capt. Harry Smith, of Gloucester, decided to make a 
winter voyage to Rose Blanche, on the south coast of 
Newfoundland, to endeavour to get a load of fresh 
halibut, which he had been told could be procured there 
without difficulty. But finding halibut very scarce, he 
made up his cargo with cod and about 80,000 frozen 

When he arrived at Gloucester he sold some small 
quantities of herring to three bankers who were just 
getting ready to sail, and sent the balance to Boston to 
be sold for food. The three vessels were wonderfully 
successful, and returned in eight or nine days with large 
catches of cod. 

The advantage of having bait for the early trips to 
the banks was so apparent, that arrangements were 
made next season for a larger supply, and four vessels 
were fitted out for the purpose. The supply of frozen 
herring brought by them was eagerly sought for by the 
banking fleet, and its efficacy as bait was firmly 

The industry immediately began to grow rapidly, and 
while the fish were always saleable for food purposes, their 
chief value was as bait for the early banking trips. 

Fortune Bay and Placentia Bay were for many years 
the centre of this industry, and it was only after the 
herring began to fail in those bays that vessels 
resorted to Bay of Islands and Bonne Bay, where it is 


now principally carried on. The custom which has been 
always pursued, is for the vessels seeking cargoes to go 
to the bays which the herring frequent and there 
purchase their loads from the local fishermen. The 
method of taking the herring has been almost invariably 
by gill nets — purse seining and other plans for taking 
them being found to be so destructive and improvident 
that laws were made, very early in the history of the 
fishery, forbidding their use. 

So far as is known, the only occasion upon which 
American crews endeavoured to take their own herring 
was in Fortune Bay in 1877. By the treaty of 187 1, the 
Americans had a perfect right to take herring in the 
inshore waters of Fortune Bay, but had never exercised 
that right. On this occasion herring were very scarce, 
and twenty or thirty American vessels were waiting 
impatiently for their appearance. At last, on a Sunday, 
the herring were seen schooling into Long Harbour, 
which was the principal fishing ground. The laws of 
Newfoundland forbade fishing on Sunday, and the local 
fishermen would not put out their nets. The American 
captains then determined to man their own seines, but 
on attempting to do so the Newfoundland fishermen 
forcibly prevented them, cutting the nets and turning the 
fish loose. It is unnecessary to rehearse the long dispute 
which followed this breach of the peace, which was 
finally adjusted by compromise, neither side waiving the 
rights which they had claimed. 

No record can be found of United States vessels 
frequenting the inshore waters of Newfoundland prior 
to the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854. The permission 
then granted is now claimed as a right, and is one of 
the principal points to be submitted for the decision of 
the Hague Tribunal, 



IN writing this chapter, dealing principally with the 
British fisheries on the Labrador coast, it will be 
necessary to repeat some facts and incidents which 
have appeared in other chapters ; but the import- 
ance of giving a connected history of this industry 
seems so great, that this minor fault will, it is hoped, be 

We can be fairly positive that while Labrador was 
abandoned to the French from 171 3 to 1763, no English 
fishing vessels frequented the coast. But the instant 
it became a British possession, steps were taken to 
induce the ship-fishers from Great Britain to continue 
the fishery in the Straits of Belle Isle which the French 
had found so profitable, and to explore the virgin fishing 
grounds on the east coast. 

Palliser's proposals were admirable for the end he had 
in view — the encouragement of the fishery from England 
in order that a supply of seamen might be available for 
the Navy — and we learn from the reply of the Merchant 
Adventurers to him in 1767, that they purposed to 
pursue the fishery on the coast with spirit. The copy 
of this document at the Record Office is endorsed : — 

" Signed by Twenty Five Ship Adventurers in Labra- 
dor, in behalf of themselves and their partners at 



Bristol, Dartmouth, Exeter, Teign mouth, Pool, and 
London, August, 1767." 

\yrit is a matter of regret that the names of these first 
adventurers are not given. 

In Sir Hugh Palliser's " Remarks on the State of the 
Newfoundland Fishery," dated December i8th, 1765, 
is found the following information about Labrador: — 

" On the fishery on the Coast of Labrador only was 
employed 1 17 Sloops and Schooners with 1563 men, who 
killed 104 whales, which yielded on an average 140 barrels 
of oil and 2000 lbs, of good bone, all killed within a 
space of 30 leagues, and between the 14th of May and 
the loth of July. The winter Seal fishery, on the same 
coast, carried on by 107 men, yielded 500 tons of oil 
besides fur, and the furs from the Indians was very 
considerable, so that the value of the Whale, Seal, 
Salmon, and Furs, upon that part of the coast only, 
was, at a moderate computation, ;^ioo,ooo, and not one 
Old English Ship or seaman employed therein, nor a 
seaman raised thereby for the service of the Fleet." 

These whale fishers were New Englanders, and the 
seal fishers the French Canadians who continued in 
their posts after the English occupation. 

It evidently rankled in Palliser's ardent soul that such 
a splendid nursery for seamen for the Navy should be 
entirely lost. Hence the enthusiasm with which he set 
about opening it up to the ship-fishers from England, 
and hence the rules and regulations made by him for 
their especial benefit. 

These regulations will be found in the Appendix to a 
previous chapter. They were not authorized by Act of 
Parliament, but had all the force of law, and, as we shall 
learn later, law-suits were decided by them as late as 


1820. Yet almost from the beginning some of its 
provisions were openly disregarded. 
The first clause reads as follows : — 

" That no inhabitants of Newfoundland, no By- 
Boatkeeper, nor any person from any of the Colonies, 
shall on any pretence whatever go to the Coast of 
Labradore. And if any such be found there, they shall 
be corporally punished for their first offence, and the 
second time their boats shall be seized for the public 
use of British ship-fishers upon that Coast." 

In the returns for the Labrador fishery 1766, it is 
stated that there were three fishing ships from England 
which took 8500 quintals of fish ; and that eight fishing 
ships and forty-one boats came from Newfoundland and 
secured 8900 quintals ; that they had left boats, gear, and 
winter crews on the coast intending to return the follow- 
ing year. 10,422 seals were shipped from Labrador in 
this year. 

In 1767 the returns state that there were eighteen 
fishing ships from England and nine from Newfound- 
land. They secured 24,690 quintals codfish and 13,136 
seals. The catch of salmon was very small, 45 tierces 

It does not appear, therefore, that Palliser's threaten- 
ing regulation was very rigidly enforced. 

In 1769 the number of fishing ships was reduced to 
nine, and no mention is made of vessels from New- 

Lieut. Curtis reported in 1772 that many Newfound- 
land vessels and boats took codfish upon the Labrador 
coast, which was afterwards cured in Newfoundland. 
He recommended that they should be encouraged to 
settle there, to off-set the New Englanders. About 9920 


quintals of codfish were taken in 1772, and 173 people 
remained on the coast during the winter. 

The following particulars of the Labrador fishery were 
reported by the Naval Office on the station in 1773 : — 

8 fishing ships from Great Britain. 

10,000 quintals of Codfish taken. 

265 tierces of Salmon. 

283 men remained on the coast all winter for the Seal 

;^23,o23 value of Seal Oil. 

Jeremiah Coughlan, whose principal station was at 
Fogo, stated that he was the first to establish a seal- 
ing station on the Labrador, " induced thereto by his 
good friend, Commodore Palliser." With the excep- 
tion, of course, of the French -Canadians found by 
the English in possession of the greater portion of 
the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Straits 
of Belle Isle, We have already heard how Coughlan 
afterwards went into partnership with Cartwright and 
Lucas, and later separated from them, but still con- 
tinued to carry on several establishments, one of them 
in 1777 being "sixty miles north of the Mealey Moun- 
tains," probably in the neighbourhood of Indian Har- 
bour, but possibly in Hamilton Inlet. The principal 
firm on the Labrador at this time was Noble and 
Pinson, the partners being Mr. John Noble, of Bristol, 
and Mr. Andrew Pinson, of Dartmouth. I have not 
ascertained when they began business on the Labrador, 
but their trade was well established and flourishing in 
1 77 1, when they applied for a grant of Temple Bay, at 
which time they had four ships and a hundred and fifty 
men employed. They were great rivals of George 
Cartwright, and were evidently too much for that in- 



genuous pioneer. His aspersions of them appear to 
have been well merited. They also lost heavily by the 
American privateers, and again in 1796 at the hands 
of the French under Admiral Richery ; but in 1818, 
when Lieut. Chappell visited the coast, they were once 
more flourishing, having establishments at Lance-a-loup, 
Temple Bay, and Sandwich Bay. The managing 
partner was a Mr. Pinson, who had spent twenty 
years on coast. 

Cartwright also mentions in his diary the following 
firms : Adam Lymburner, of Quebec, who was the 
first to go into Hamilton Inlet furring and trading ; 
Coughlan and Hooper ; Slade and Co. ; B. Lester and 
Co. ; our old friend Mr. Nicholas Darby ; and Thomas, 
whose firm name I have not ascertained. Several of 
these firms continued honourable careers well on into 
the nineteenth century. 

In 1807 the Lymburner mentioned by Cartwright, or 
a descendant, associated with several others, acquired 
by purchase the seignorial rights from Gagnish to 
Blanc Sablon. They were known as "The Labrador 
Company," which terminated its career in a celebrated 
lawsuit lasting many years, being fought through every 
court in Canada, and finally going to the Privy Council. 

The Jersey firms, who had been from the earliest 
times largely interested in the Newfoundland trade, 
were among the first to embark extensively in the 
fishery in the Straits. The most important of them 
was De Ouetteville and Co., having three or four 
stations. Le Boutillier Brothers v/ere also prominent 
at an early date. 

In 1775 it was stated that there were a hundred 
British vessels occupied in the fisheries on the coast of 


From the Report of the Lords of the Committee of 
the Privy Council for Trade, dated March 17th, 1786, 
we gather that the English merchants interested in the 
Newfoundland trade, whose evidence had been taken, 
desired that the fishing on the coast of Labrador might 
be under the same regulations, and receive the same 
encouragement as that of Newfoundland. A request 
which the Committee fully endorsed, " As the Labrador 
Coast was included in the Commission of the Governor 
of Newfoundland," thus ignoring altogether the fact 
that Labrador at that time was under the jurisdiction 
of Quebec. Their recommendation was not accepted. 
The Act passed in that year made no reference to 
Labrador, and the bounties offered were payable only 
to the ship-fishers from Great Britain fishing on the 
banks, and drying their fish on the south or east coast 
of Newfoundland. 

George Cartwright's evidence before the Committee 
of the House of Commons in 1793, contains the in- 
formation that prior to 1770 the intercourse between 
Great Britain and Labrador was very inconsiderable, 
and was not very important at that present time. But 
he admitted that it had latterly been very remunerative, 
returning him lOO per cent for his interest there for the 
last three years. 

So little was known of the northern part of the coast 
at this time, that we find instructions given to Governor 
Elliott in 1786, "to direct the officer appointed to visit 
Labrador, to search and explore the great Inlet, com- 
monly known as Davis's Inlet, in order to discover 
whether the same has or has not any passage to Hud- 
son's Bay or any other enclosed sea." He was also 
to make a particular report on the whale and sea-cow 
fisheries, and obtain such other information as may 



serve to convey a perfect understanding of the fisheries 
on the coast. 

I have been unable to find that such voyage of ex- 
ploration was ever made. 

In the Returns of the seal and salmon fishery on 
the Labrador for 1784-5, the firm of Lymburner and 
Grant are reported with sealing posts from Little 
Mecatina to Black Bay, employing 100 men, and taking 
13,425 seals. Slade and Company had stations at 
Battle and Fox Harbours, employing 16 men and 
taking 2300 seals. Dean and Company at St. Francis, 
with 9 men, taking 2100 seals, and Noble and Pinson 
at Lance-a-loup, Temple Bay, Seal Island, Cape Charles, 
and Spear Harbour, employing 48 men and securing 
4300 seals. The value of this fishery was estimated as 
follows : — 

22,125 seals producing 553 tons of oil at;^22 
22,125 skins at 4s. 



The return of the salmon fishery is as follows : — 


River au Saumon, Simon du Bois 

St. Modeste, Noble and Pinson . 

Mary Harbour 

St. Francis River 

Black Bear Bay 

Sandwich Cove 

Sandwich Bay 

2 men 




The value of the salmon is stated to be 40s. per 

During the season of 1785, there were eight fishing 
ships from England and eight from America. The catch 
of codfish was estimated at 1 3,500 quintals. Winter crews 
2 c 


to the number of 153 persons remained on the coast 
sealing and furring. 

In a Return sent in by Governor King in 1792, 
Forteau and Blanc Sablon only are mentioned. At 
the former place 4 vessels were carrying on the cod 
fishery, employing 144 men, and taking 5000 quintals 
of fish ; at the latter there were 2 vessels with 6^ men, 
whose catch was 2700 quintals — a very poor fishery. 
The following remarks appended to the report give a 
doleful account of the condition of the poor planters 
and fishermen :— 

" The coast of Labrador, in the Straits of Belle Isle, 
is much in want of some attention from Government. 
The planters and furriers, who are numerous, (although 
I cannot return how many,) are entirely subject to the 
oppression of the merchants, who impose whatever 
price they please, and upon any debt however small 
being incurred and not being paid upon immediate 
demand, the boats and other effects of the debtor are 
seized (without any authority for so doing), sold, and 
purchased by the creditors for sometimes one-sixth of 
their value. The prices upon the coast are enormous 
and want great regulation, one hundred weight of 
coarse Biscuit being charged to the planter at 30s., and 
other provisions in proportion. Man-of-war's slops, 
condemned by Government, are bought up by the 
merchants of Labrador and sold at a guinea a jacket. 
The planters in general I remarked to be sober, hard- 
working, industrious men, and worthy of encourage- 
ment. It was reported to me by them that some 
American vessels, from what port they could not say, 
had taken some unwarrantable liberties on the coast, 
and drove them from their fisheries before the Echo's 


From a letter written by Noble and Pinson in 1794, 
we learn that there were nineteen vessels, ten of which 
belonged to them, in the Straits that season loading 
with fish, oil, and salmon. 

The condition of Labrador from 1774 to 1809, while 
under Quebec rule, was decidedly anomalous. The 
coast was not visited by the ships on the Newfound- 
land station with any regularity, and affairs were left 
largely to manage themselves. Palliser's regulations 
seem to have been nominally kept in force, but " more 
honoured in the breach than in the observance." On 
several occasions appeals were made to the Governor 
of xN'ewfoundland to settle disputes about fishing 
stations, which always elicited the pronouncement that 
the coast was free to ship-fishers from Great Britain, 
and that no vested rights in establishments were per- 
mitted save such as pertained to the old Canadian 

Nevertheless the fishery gradually came to be largely 
prosecuted by boats and vessels from Newfoundland. 
These were at first no doubt properly constituted ship- 
fishers from Great Britain, who made their head-quarters 
in Newfoundland ports, but latterly they were New- 
foundland vessels pure and simple, manned by the 
residents of Newfoundland. 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the 
resident population of Newfoundland had grown to be 
quite considerable in spite of all the restraints which 
had been devised to prevent it. The island was begin- 
ning to be a colony, and not " a ship anchored on the 
Banks." The inhabitants had houses, land, and families, 
and, one writer says, were so much attached to their 
homes that they could with difficulty be persuaded to 
make a voyage as sailors to foreign parts. The fishery 



carried on by them gradually became more important 
than that from Great Britain. At what time this came 
to be recognized by the Imperial Government is not 
easy to determine. 

It has been stated that Palliser's Act (1786) did not 
provide for the payment of a bounty on fish caught on 
Labrador, This Act expired in 1797, and was renewed 
from year to year until 1801. In that year an Act 
was passed providing for the payment of a bounty of 
3s. per quintal on salted salmon and codfish im- 
ported into the United Kingdom from Newfoundland 
and Labrador, which bounty was not forfeited if such 
salmon or codfish were afterwards exported from 
England. The term of this Act was one year only, 
but in the following year it was extended until 18 10. 
There was one very notable difference between these 
Acts and Palliser's. In the earlier Act the bounty was 
only payable to ship-fishers from Great Britain, but by 
the later Acts it was stipulated only that the fish 
should be caught by British subjects — a very important 
concession to the colonists. 

The following synopsis of reports furnished by naval 
commanders on the coast in 1804-5-6, will afford a fair 
idea of the size of the fishery at that time. 

No of. 

No. of 

No. of 


























380 tierces of 
salmon at 


The places frequented were Bradore, Lance-au-Loup, 
Blanc Sablon, Forteau, Red Bay, Henley Harbour, 
Chateau, Miller's Tickle, Pitt's Harbour, Francis Har- 
bour, Battle Harbour, Sandwich Bay, and Indian 
Harbour. I am doubtful, however, whether the latter 
was the place now known by that name. 

In 1806 the resident population at these fishery posts 
was 489. Some of the firms carrying on this fishery 
were : — From England : Noble and Pinson, William 
Codner and Company, Grange and Nash, John Slade 
and Company, Dormer and Richards, B. Lester and 
Company, and Richard Tory. From Jersey : Robert 
Berteau, Simon du Bois, Falle and Durrell, L. Kidville 
(De Quettville), and Emery and Best. From St. John's : 
Skeans and Kersley, J. Widdicomb, John Power, John 
Bradbury, and John Cahill. And from Quebec : Lym- 
burner and Grant. 

Their method of taking fish was by hook and line 
only. The American vessels were generally furnished 
with large seines, which at times gave considerable 
advantage, and was no doubt a principal cause of the 
quarrels which were so frequent. 

In 1792 the merchants of Harbour Grace, forty-three 
in number, petitioned Chief Justice Reeves for a perma- 
nent court to be established there. They describe the 
supplying trade in which they were principally engaged, 
and the difficulty in obtaining judgments against their 
dealers, " the boat-keepers or, as they are usually called, 
planters, most of them natives of the island who hire 
their own servants and plan out their own voyages 
independent of the merchant, (except being supplied by 
him), which is not the case in many parts where master 
and crew are in fact servants to the merchant." 

In 1806 some of these same merchants sent a 


petition to Sir Erasmus Gower, calling attention to 
the lawless acts of Americans on the Labrador, and 
asking for protection. They stated that the fishery 
in Conception Bay had failed for many years past, 
and that it had become necessary for their planters 
to go to the northern parts of the Island and 
the Labrador in pursuit of codfish, where they came 
into contact with the Americans, and were induced by 
them to rob their merchants and fly to America. 

At this period, therefore, it was the practice for 
Newfoundland fishermen in Newfoundland boats and 
schooners to be com.monly engaged in the Labrador 
fishery, in spite of the regulation which threatened 
corporal punishment and the seizure of their boats. 

The protests of the St. John's Commercial Body in 
1813, and the Nova Scotian Parliament in 181 5, also 
bear witness to a considerable fishery carried on both 
from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. In 1813 the 
number of Newfoundland vessels going to Labrador 
was said to have doubled, no doubt the result of being 
relieved from the competition of the Americans by the 
war of 18 12. 

In 181 1 an Act was passed instituting Surrogate 
Courts for Labrador in like manner as for Newfound- 
land. Surrogates were either naval officers having a 
general jurisdiction over the coast, or local men at the 
more important stations, such as Mr. Andrew Pinson at 
Temple Bay and Mr. Samuel Prowse at Cape Charles, 
who were appointed in 1813. But prior to this, in 18 10, 
the naval surrogate visited Blanc Sablon, Forteau, and 
other points in the Straits, opening court and hearing 
and settling disputes, a proceeding which was appa- 
rently not authorized by law, and required to be after- 
ward legalized. 


In 1820 an important case was tried before the 
Supreme Court in St. John's. 

The firm of Philip Beard and Co., of Dartmouth, had 
succeeded to the fishing establishment at Sandwich Bay 
which had been originally granted to George Cartwright. 
As a salmon and seal fishery were both carried on there, 
and a fishing ship from England was annually sent out 
with supplies according to the proclamation issued by 
Governor Shuldham in 1775, their right to the station 
was inviolable. In 18 16 they were interfered with both 
by Americans and Nova Scotians, and they therefore 
applied to the surrogate. Captain Cooksley, for redress, 
who issued an order in their favour. As this order was 
disregarded. Captain Gordon was sent in 18 19 again 
to in^^estigate the circumstances, and again decided in 
favou- of Beard. This same year, and again in 1820, 
Beard was disturbed by a Nova Scotian named Jennings, 
Captan Martin, the surrogate in 1820, was sent by Sir C. 
Hamilion to issue new regulations in respect to salmon 
fisheries, especially dealing with Sandwich Bay, for the 
protectbn of Beard. Arriving at Sandwich Bay, he 
ordered Jennings to take up his nets. But here Beard 
appears to have committed a breach of the law. He 
proceeded himself to execute Captain Martin's order, 
removing and keeping Jennings' nets, who forthwith 
came to 3t. John's and instituted suit for damages in 
the Supreme Court. 

The judgment delivered by Chief Justice Forbes is 
very interesting. The powers of the surrogates, the 
force of proclamations, the vested rights of Beard and 
Co., and the rights of the Nova Scotians on the Labra- 
dor were all difficult problems. In his judgment, he 
said : — 

" Let us look at the Code of Regulations for the 


fishery and trade on the coast of Labrador, The first 
article declares that no inhabitant from Newfoundland, 
nor any person from any of the Colonies, shall on any 
pretence whatever go to the coast of Labrador ! A 
regulation which debars a million of His Majesty's 
subjects from the exercise of a common right may well 
be called law, and if it be, however penal its provisions, 
I am bound to enforce them. Now it is well known that 
the principal fisheries at Labrador are actually carried 
on by people from this Island ; and I have purposely 
put this case, because I wish it to be clearly seen to 
what extravagant consequences the principle conterided 
for must lead. 

" A legislative authority in this government, unkiown 
to the laws of England, but claimed under a prescr'ptive 
exercise in Newfoundland, is now, for the first time, 
sought to be established in this Court. So largfe and 
indeed so dangerous an innovation upon the accustomed 
principles of adjudication in the Court, ought not to 
be passed over unobserved. If the Proclamarion by 
which the surrogate is stated to have been governed 
be legal, then indeed there can be no doubt that it 
is as binding on this Court as it was on the Surrogate 

But by Statute 49 George III, chapter 27 the laws 
of England were made applicable to Newfoundland, and 
by Statute 51 George III, chapter 45, they were 
extended to Labrador, and by the common law of 
England all the King's subjects have a common right 
to take fish in arms of the sea, except in such 
places where an exclusive right has been granted by 
special charter, custom, usage, or prescription. The 
exclusive right of Beard v/as not examined into, nor 
evidence taken on the matter, and the surrogate ap- 


peared to have considered the point settled by the pro- 

" All that can be said is that he mistook that for law 
which was not law, and so far his judgment was erro- 
neous. In giving this opinion, however, I desire to be 
understood as not determining any question of right at 
Sandwich Bay. . . . As it is in evidence that the nets 
are in the defendant's possession . . . and as the jury 
have assessed separate damages for the nets, I think I 
am bound to give judgment for the value." {£460.) 

This was a very important judgment. 

The Governor, Sir Chas. Hamilton, wrote to the 
Secretary of State and gave the full history of the case. 
He said : — 

" Your Lordship is aware that the laws enacted for 
regulating the fisheries and trade of the Island of 
Newfoundland do not extend to the Coast of Labrador, 
although the Government of the latter is included with 
the former in His Majesty's Commission. The fisheries 
on the Labrador have heretofore, as appears by the 
records in this office, been regulated by Proclamations 
and Orders issued from time to time by the Governor, 
either as the necessity of the case required, or from 
direct instructions under the King's sign manual or 
communicated through one of His Majesty's Secretaries 
of State, and which have generally tended to encourage 
a Ship fishery and adventurers from England in prefer- 
ance to any other class of His Majesty's subjects, with 
the obvious view of promoting the increase of seamen. 
These Orders and Proclamations were until very lately 
considered to carry with them the force and effect of law. 
... It would appear that the Chief Justice considers 
the Proclamations of the Governors as not binding. I 


have considered it my duty to transmit all these pro- 
ceedings to your Lordship, and to solicit such instructions 
for my future guidance as His Majesty's Government 
may be of opinion the case requires." 

Sir Chas. Hamilton stated that the case had been 
appealed to the Privy Council, but I have been unable 
to find any judgment upon it from that tribunal. 

The most complete account of the Labrador fisheries 
obtainable up to this time is that furnished by Captain 
Robinson on his return from Sandwich Bay, where he 
was sent to investigate the dispute between Beard and 
Jennings. (See following page.) 

"In all harbours where there are any considerable 
fisheries a few people winter to take care of the 
property, cut wood, and catch furs. These constitute 
the only resident population. 

" Petty Harbour, Fishing Ship Harbour, Occasional 
Harbour, Square Island Harbour, Cape Bluff Island 
Harbour, Snug Harbour, St. Michael's Bay, Double 
Island Harbour, Partridge Bay, Black Bear Bay, Island 
of Ponds, Spotted Island Harbour, and Table Harbour; 
at all these places there are small establishments, prin- 
cipally of adventurers from Newfoundland ; and, by 
the best information which could be obtained respect- 
ing them, they may be estimated to yield about 1 500 
quintals for each post on an average, making about 
20,000 ; with a proportion of oil, at the rate of 
one ton for every 200 quintals of fish, making 
100 tons. At all the smaller intermediate harbours 
there is an appearance of settling and building houses, 
but we cannot estimate their produce at all correctly ; 
though, from the number of Newfoundland and Nova 
Scotia vessels which carry on a desultory fishing and 
take away their cargoes, a very considerable quantity 



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•poo JO si^iuin^ 

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of fish may be added to the above estimate, perhaps 
20,000 quintals." 

In the Table of Exports in the Appendix it will 
be noticed that the total exports of codfish from. 
Cape Charles to Sandwich Bay, are stated by Captain 
Robinson to have been 134,580 quintals, while the 
Colonial Records state them to have been 76,000 
quintals for the French shore and Labrador, — a dis- 
crepancy which cannot be explained. The weight 
of evidence will no doubt be held to lie with Captain 

In addition to the direct exports, Captain Robinson 
estimated that 20,000 quintals were taken at small 
stations, and 20,000 quintals by Newfoundland and 
Nova Scotian schooners in all say — 175,000. To this 
must be added the fishery in the Straits of Belle Isle, 
which may be roughly estimated at 50,000 quintals, 
making a grand total of 225,000 quintals. 

By an Act passed on June 17th, 1824, entitled 
" An Act for the Better Administration of Justice in 
Newfoundland, etc." power was given to the Governor 
to institute a court of Civil Jurisdiction at Labrador, 
such court to be held by one judge authorized 
to hear and determine complaints of a civil nature. 
By the same Act the Surrogate Courts were dis- 

Captain William Patterson was appointed judge 
of this court in 1826, and continued in the office 
until its termination in 1834. Mr. George Simms 
was the first clerk. In 1829 Mr. Bryan Robinson, 
afterwards Chief Justice of Newfoundland, was ap- 
pointed sheriff, and held office until 1833, when he 
was succeeded by Mr. Elias Rendell. The proclama- 
tion issued at the inception of this court and the 


letter of instructions to Captain Patterson are here 
given : — 

" Government House, 

" i\th August, 1826 

" Captain William Patterson. 

" Sir, 

" With your Commission to proceed on your 
Circuit to Labrador and the Proclamation which ac- 
companies, I transmit to you a list of such places as 
from the best information that can be obtained are 
likely to call for your presence. At the same time you 
will understand that it by no means professes to be 
correct ; but after your arrival at Invucktoke you must 
obtain from time to time the best information you can 
get on that point, and regulate your proceedings accord- 
ingly, taking the most Northern place at which first to 
hold your Court, so that you may always be making 
progress to the Southward as the Summer declines. 

'■' Herewith you will receive a copy of the Treaty with 
America by which that country is entitled to take and 
cure fish upon the Coast of Labrador, and with it I 
also forward you a copy of an explanatory letter from 
Lord Bathurst on the subject of it. At the same time 
that I recommend the most conciliatory and friendly 
conduct on the part of yourself and all attached to your 
Court or under your authority towards the subjects of 
the United States whilst engaged in the fishery secured 
to them by the treaty, you will bear in mind that 
whilst they are employed within your jurisdiction they 
are equally amenable to the laws with any of His 
Majesty's subjects, and that the same measure of 
Justice is to be dealt with them as to any others 
infringing the rights of individuals or disturbing the 
public peace. 


" For your further guidance in the discharge of your 
official duties I must refer you to the Act 5, George 4, 
Cap. 51 and ^J, with which you will be furnished, and 
should there be any point on which you may previously 
to your sailing require legal advice, the same shall be 
submitted to the Attorney General or to the Judges of 
the Supreme Court as the case may be. 

During the period that you are upon the Coast of 
Labrador it is very desirable you should take every 
opportunity of informing yourself of the state of our 
fishery as well as that of the Americans, and that you 
should collect all the information you can with reference 
to the Fur trade, the native inhabitants, the Moravian 
Settlements, the number, if any, of Europeans or 
Americans who remain the winter, as well as the 
stations they occupy, and generally, that you should 
collect all the information you can of that imperfectly 
known country that may in any way tend to the 
advancement of science or commerce. 
" I am, etc. 

"(Signed) Thos. Cochrane, 

" Governor. 
" To Capt. Paterson, C.B., r.n." 

Proclamation by His Excellency Sir Thomas John 
Cochrane, Knight, Governor and Commander-in-Chief, 
etc., appointing times and places of holding the Labra- 
dor Court. 

Whereas by an Act passed in the 5th year of the Reign 
of our Sovereign Lord George the Fourth by the Grace of 
God of the United Kingdom or Great Britain and Ireland, 
King Defender of the Faith, etc., entitled " An Act for the 
better administration of Justice in Newfoundland and for other 


Purposes," it is enacted and declared that it shall and may be 
lawful for the Governor or acting Governor of Newfoundland 
for the time being to institute a Court of Civil Jurisdiction 
at any such parts or places on the Coast of Labrador or the 
Islands adjacent thereto which are reannexed to the Govern- 
ment of Newfoundland as occasion shall require. 

Now therefore in pursuance of the power and authority 
to me given by the said Act of Parliament, and in fulfilment of 
the requisitions and provisions of the same, I, the Governor, 
do by this my Proclamation institute a Court of Civil Juris- 
diction to be holden at Invuctoke on the 22nd day of August 
— at Huntingdon Harbour on the 30th day of August — at 
Venison Island on the 5th of September — at Cape St. Francis 
on the 9th day of September — at Cape St. Charles Harbour on 
the 13th day of September — at Chateaux Bay on the 21st day 
of September — and at L'Anse-a-Loup on the 29th day of 
September next on the said Coast of Labrador, or at any 
or either of the said places, and as nearly on the said days 
and periods or at any other place or places on the said Coast 
and at such periods as circumstances will permit, or may 
render necessary, with jurisdiction power and authority to 
hear and determine all suits and complaints of a civil nature 
after the manner and for, provided by the said Act, and arising 
within any of the parts or places on the said coast of Labrador 
or the Islands adjacent thereto, which are reannexed to the 
Government of Newfoundland, viz. : — from the entrance of 
Hudson's Straits to a line to be drawn due North and South 
from Anse Sablon on the said Coast to the fifty-second degree 
of North Latitude. 

And I do authorize, empower, and direct the Judges of the 
said court of Civil Jurisdiction, hereby instituted, from day to 
day, and from place to place, or for any number of days 
within the term, Session or continuance of the said Court to 
adjourn the said Court, to meet re-assemble and sit again in the 
execution and discharge of the duties of the said Court, when 
and so often as by the said Judge may be deemed necessary 


or expedient for the due and proper fulfilment and discharge 
of such duties. 

And of these presents all Magistrates, the Sheriff and his 
deputies, all Bailiffs, Constables, Keepers of Gaols and other 
Officers of the Coast of Labrador, in the execution of their 
offices about the premises, are directed and hereby required 
and commanded to take due notice and govern themselves 

Given under my hand at Government 
House, St. John's, the second day of 
January in the sixth year of His 
Majesty's Reign. 

By Command of His Excellency the Governor, 

(Signed) E. B. Brenton. 

In 1826 thirteen civil actions vi^ere tried, in 1827 a 
similar number, and in 1828 twenty-seven actions, in- 
volving an amount of ^6^1 885 5s. 3d. But the amount 
of work which the court found to do v^as not considered 
commensurate to the cost, and one of the earliest Acts 
of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland in 1834 
was to discontinue it. 

A series of cases was brought before the Supreme 
Court at St. John's in 1826 to determine the particular 
classes of seamen and fishermen w^ho were liable 
for the payment of the Greenwich Hospital dues of 
6d. per man, monthly. In the case submitted for 
the decision of Chief Justice Tucker, the following 
description is given of the method pursued at that 
time in shipping crews and fishermen for the Labrador. 
It will be seen that it does not greatly differ from the 
present custom. The decision of the Chief Justice was 
that all classes of Labrador fishermen were liable for 
the dues. 


"Labrador schooners are fitted out about the ist of 
June for the Labrador fishery, which is carried on upon 
that coast by open boats or skiffs. On board this 
schooner are embarked six men, three of whom are 
hired on wages for the season, say from 20th of May 
until the last of October ; and three on shares for the 
same period of time. One of such servants takes 
charge of the schooner, as master, to navigate her to 
the Labrador, and carry the supplies and fishing crews 
to a certain place, where, on the vessel's arrival, she 
is moored in safety, and laid up, unused, for a time, 
except as an occasional store for salt, etc. The master 
and men are then employed in skift^'s, or open boats, 
catching fish, which they carry on shore to defendant's 
room, to be cured by a shore crew of the defendant's. 
As soon as enough fish is caught and cured to load the 
schooner, a sufficient crew from the men so hired and on 
shares, is put on board to navigate the vessel to St. 
John's ; from whence, after delivering her fish there, she 
again returns to the Labrador, and remains until the end 
of the season, and then brings the residue of the fish and 
oil, the produce of the voyage, to St. John's, together 
with the fishing and shore crews, returning about the 
middle of October. But besides the aforesaid men, the 
hired servants of the defendant, the said vessel carried 
also to the Labrador ten other fishermen (besides 
defendant's shore crew, who were employed solely in 
curing the fish ashore) ; and which fishermen were 
supplied by defendant, who also contracted to cure on 
his room the fish they caught, and freight it to St. John's. 
On the vessel's arrival at the Labrador, these men, form- 
ing three separate crews, emplo3^ed themselves in their 
own skiffs, or open boats, catching fish on their own 
account ; and, as they caught it, daily delivered it on 
2 D 


shore upon defendant's room to be cured. When cured, 
defendant's said schooner carried the fish on freight to 
St. John's ; and out of it took the value of his supplies 
furnished to the catchers, together with the price of 
curing and the amount of freight ; and delivered the 
surplus to the said fish-catchers to sell where they 
pleased, or purchased the same from them at current 

In a memorial from the Chamber of Commerce, 
St. John's, 1825, protesting against any portion of the 
Labrador being returned to Canada, it is stated that 
60 vessels were fitted out in St. John's and 200 from 
Conception Bay for the fishing on that coast, em- 
ploying altogether about 5000 men.' 

The senior naval officer on the station had a careful 
census taken in 1826 of all the vessels fishing at Labra- 
dor, from Lance-a-Loup to Rigolette, of which the 
following is a resume : — 

95 vessels, 6439 tons, 131 2 men. 
397 boats, 828 men. 

3450 Seals. 

5124 tierces of Salmon. 
102,980 quintals of Codfish. 
304 tuns of Oil. 

Of the above there were twenty-one fishing ships 
from England. But this report was admittedly not 
complete, and it was estimated that 50,000 quintals of 
codfish were taken in small creeks and harbours not 
visited. It will be noticed that herring are not 

We learn from the Colonial Records that there were 


276 fishing ships from Great Britain to Newfoundland 
and Labrador in 1792. In 18 17, the number had de- 
creased to 48, and in 1824, to 15. In 1832, it is 
stated that only 5 fishing ships went to Labrador, and 
15 to the Banks. Save for the few Jersey vessels to the 
Straits of Belle Isle, the great ship fishery, which had 
been fostered with so much assiduity for nearly two 
hundred years, and for the sake of which the coloniza- 
tion of Newfoundland had been kept down with an 
iron hand, soon ceased to exist. 

It is perhaps idle to speculate on historical hypotheses, 
but one cannot help pausing a moment to consider how 
different Newfoundland would have been had she been 
allowed to grow naturally from the first. And one 
must also " point the moral " of the folly of trying to 
foster an unnatural industry, such as the British ship 
fishery. Acts of Parliament, devised by wire-pulling 
West-country merchants, could not keep it alive ; and 
while it was being artificially fostered, the infant colony 
of Newfoundland was being strangled. 

About the year 1830 the Labrador fishery was prose- 
cuted with great vigour. Newfoundlanders, Nova 
Scotians, and Americans flocked there in great numbers. 
The following particulars are taken from British America, 
by Colonel MacGregor, who, being A.D.C. and private 
Secretary to the Governor of Newfoundland, had an 
excellent opportunity for gathering correct information. 
It will be seen, however, that some of his statements 
do not bear examination, and that he greatly over- 
estimated the American fishery, and possibly the British 
fishery as well. He said that about 300 schooners went 
from Newfoundland to the different fishing stations on 
the Labrador coast, where about 20,000 British subjects 
were employed in the season. Many of the vessels 


made an early trip to the straits, returning as soon as 
a cargo was secured, and leaving again as quickly as 
possible for the eastern Labrador coast, a practice 
which is still pursued by the schooners from the northern 
outports. From the maritime provinces about 120 
vessels with 1200 to 1300 fishermen annually fished 
on the coast ; and there were six or seven English and 
five Jersey firms with extensive fishing establishments, 
still carrying on the old ship fishery, and employing 
about 1000 men. The Americans had about 500 
vessels and 15,000 men employed on the coast, and 
their catch amounted to 1,100,000 quintals of fish and 
3000 tuns of oil. 

According to this authority, therefore, there were 
about 1000 vessels and 35,000 people engaged in the 
Labrador fishery at this period. 

To examine first into his estimate of the American 
fishery. According to Lorenzo Sabine's Report of 
American Fisheries, 1853, the total export of codfish 
from the United States in 1830 was 229,796 quintals, 
and the home consumption about 500,000, making a 
total of 729,796 quintals. As a large proportion of the 
American fleet fished on the Grand Banks and in the 
Gulf of St Lawrence, it is evident that MacGregor's 
figures are much exaggerated. Admitting that there 
were 500 vessels, it is safe to assume that their crews 
numbered about 5000 and their catch 200,000 to 250,000 

If in MacGregor's figures for the number of British 
subjects employed on the Labrador are included the 
Canadian and English fishermen, estimated at 2000, 
and the settlers on the coast, say 2000, not including 
Eskimos or Indians, it will leave 16,000 people to go from 
Newfoundland, As the whole population of Newfound- 


land at that period was about 60,000, it would thus appear 
that one-fourth of them migrated to Labrador each 
summer, — a proportion which seems altogether too large. 

Owing to the Newfoundland fishermen being driven 
from the French shore, they were compelled to go 
farther afield, and on this account the Labrador fishery- 
was said to have increased sixfold between 18 14 and 
1829. But on the Labrador they had to meet American 
competition, particulars of which are related in another 
chapter. Our Yankee cousins tried to carry things on 
the coast with a high hand, and many complaints of 
aggressions are recorded. They went so far on some 
occasions as to drive the Newfoundland vessels from 
the harbours, and tear down the British flag, hoisting 
the Stars and Stripes in its place. They cut away the 
salmon nets of the Newfoundlanders, set their own 
instead, and threatened to shoot any one who interfered 
with them. Redress was impossible. The visits of the 
British cruisers were few and far between. It was beyond 
the power of the poor fishermen to bring the aggressors 
to justice, and being greatly outnumbered in many places, 
they could not take the law in their own hands. 

But after a few more years of steady increase, the 
balance of power was in the hands of the Newfound- 
land fishermen, and we can be sure that they were 
not backward in protecting themselves. Possibly the 
United States fishermen found the Labrador a little 
warjn for them, which may account for the rapid decline 
of their fishery after 1840. 

The fisheries were variable, but no doubt were very 
much more productive than in recent years. The 
salmon fishery was still important, but the herring 
fishery had not been prosecuted extensively. In the 
list of exports given by MacGregor, herring are not 


mentioned. Codfish were no doubt more easily taken 
then than now. There were no traps, as in modern 
times, but yet they succeeded in securing large catches. 
The following figures for 1829 are given by Mac- 
Gregor : — 

Exported to Europe 
by English and Jersey 

Exported to Europe t 
by Newfoundland ] 
houses. y 

Sent to Newfound- 
land from Labrador. 

50,000 qtls. codfish 

900 tees, salmon 

200 tuns cod oil 

200 tuns seal oil 

Furs . 

20,000 qtls. codfish 
300 tees, salmon 

324,000 qtls. codfish 

1,500 tuns cod oil 

Salmon, etc. 

Sent to Maritime f ^i ^c u 

T^ • ^ 20,000 qtls. codfish 

Provinces. I ^ 









MacGregor's statements do not hang together. The 
number of Newfoundland schooners was said to have 
been 300, and it was impossible for them to have 
brought back 1000 quintals each on an average. 

But after making due allowance for overestimates, 
I am inclined to think that the total catch of codfish on 
the Labrador at that period may have approximated 
1,000,000 quintals yearly. 

About the year 1831 the Hudson Bay Company 
began operations in Labrador, the inception of which is 
thus cynically related by John MacLean {JFJiirty Years 
in the Hudson Bay Company s Ser^vice) : — 

" The Company, having learned through a pamphlet 
published by the Moravian Missionaries that the 


country produced excellent furs, were induced by the 
laudable desire of ' ameliorating the condition of the 
natives' to settle it." 

Posts were started at Rigolet and North-west River in 
Hamilton Inlet, at Fort Chimo\ Whale River, and 
George's River in Hudson's Straits, at Nackvak, Davis 
Inlet, and Cartwright on the east coast. This last was 
purchased from Messrs. Hunt and Henley, who had suc- 
ceeded to the rights originally obtained by George 

The title of the Company to the posts in Hudson's 
Straits is naturally included in their original charter, 
but that of the others, with the exception of Cartwright, 
seems to rest upon squatters' rights only, as no grant 
of them appears to have been given by the Imperial 
Government or Government of Newfoundland. 

In 1840 a Bill was introduced in the House of 
Assembly to provide for the collection of duties and 
for establishing a Court on Labrador. But being re- 
turned from the Council with amendments, it was 
allowed to drop. Nevertheless, an attempt was made 
the following summer to collect duties there, and Mr. 
Elias Rendell was appointed for the job. He found 
great difficulty in getting to Labrador, as the merchants, 
knowing his errand, refused to let him go in their 
vessels. He was therefore obliged to hire a small 
schooner, and finally sailed on July 5th. He travelled 
up the coast as far as Hamilton Inlet, into which he 
went some distance, and collected duties to the amount 
of ;;^205 IIS. 4d. All Complained loudly at having to 
pay duties, and some of the firms refused positively to 
pay at all. They pleaded that they should not be 

^ " Chymo," according to Rev. S. M. Stewart, missionary to Ungava, 
means " welcome." 


called upon to contribute to the revenue unless they 
derived some benefit from it, and stated that another 
year they would resist payment by every possible means, 
unless a Court of Justice M^ere established, and the 
coast afforded the protection of the police, Mr. Rendell 
was of opinion that such was most necessary, as disputes 
were continually arising, and serious crimes occasionally 
committed, " a man at that time going at large, who 
was known to have murdered his wife last winter." 
Mr. Rendell also drew attention to the encroachments 
of the French on the fisheries of Labrador. From 
Blanc Sablon to Henley Harbour the shore was literally 
lined with French boats, and the protection of a ship- 
of-war was imperatively necessary. 

We first hear of French encroachments on the Labra- 
dor side of the straits, in 1835, and a Committee of the 
House of Assembly was appointed to make enquiries, 
but I have been unable to find that it ever made a report. 

In 1 841, the year after Mr. Elias Rendell's visit, 
Captain Milne, H.M.S. Crocodile, was sent to the coast 
on the fishery protection service. He found the reports 
to be more than justified, and French encroachments to 
be most general. They had simply taken possession of 
Belle Isle, driving off the Newfoundland and American 
fishermen who had been frequenting it. Two fishing 
rooms had been built there by the French, and it was 
actually included in the list of fishing stations which 
were regularly ballotted for in France every five years. 
Belle Isle was considered a very valuable fishery at that 
time, and immense quantities offish were taken annually 
round the shores, approximating 30,000 quintals. The 
codfish were said to enter the straits from the Atlantic, 
passing near the island, and later schooling along the 
Labrador shore. The fishermen there were thus enabled 


to secure the cream of the voyage, both in size and 
quantity of fish. 

Capt. Milne pointed out that as Belle Isle was nearer 
to Labrador than to Newfoundland it must be held to 
belong to the former coast where the French had abso- 
lutely no rights. In Palliser's time, the commanding 
officers of the fishery protection fleet were particularly 
directed to guard against French aggression, and it is 
hard to understand how the abuse began. 

In 1845, petitions were forwarded to the House of 
Assembly from the merchants of Conception Bay, pray- 
ing that Courts of Justice be again instituted on the 
Labrador. Over 200 vessels and 5000 men went from 
that Bay alone to Labrador, and many disputes arose 
in respect to fishing berths, for the prompt settlement of 
which a Court of Justice was absolutely necessary. 

Capt. Locke, who was on the coast in H.M.S. 
Alarm in 1848, visited Belle Isle, and although he 
found no French vessels, was told that they had been 
there all the summer, and had left hurriedly when they 
heard he was in the neighbourhood. All along the 
Labrador side of the straits he received the same in- 
formation. It was estimated that 200 French boats 
with 1000 to 1500 men had been poaching that summer, 
and had taken 50,000 to 70,000 quintals of fish. The 
British fishery had been very good, averaging 70 or 80 
quintals per man. Blanc Sablon was the principal 
station, three Jersey firms doing business there. The 
catch in this one place was 15,000 to 16,000 quintals. 
At Red Bay, William Penney, of Carbonear, carried on 
business, employing twenty-five boats and forty to fifty 
men. Their catch was 3500 quintals. It is interesting 
to know that the firm of Wm. Penney and Sons have 
carried on a prosperous business there ever since, hold- 


ing the record for the oldest established business on the 
Labrador carried on at one locality. 

No determined effort seems to have been made to 
stop the French encroachments, in spite of the continual 
reports which were made in regard to them, until 1852, 
when the sum of ;^550 was voted by the House of 
Assembly for a fishery protection service at Cape John 
and in the Straits of Belle Isle, and an effectual stop 
was very soon put to the poaching propensities of the 
French, which had been endured so long. 

Capt. Cochrane, R.N.. visited Labrador in 1852, and 
assisted in this service, his particular duty being to re- 
move the French establishments from Belle Isle. He 
reported that very few American vessels were on the 
coast that year, and that they fished between Sandwich 
Bay and Cape Harrison. The number of Newfound- 
land fishermen from Cape Charles to Cape Harrison he 
estimated at 6500. 

In 1856 the colony of Newfoundland was amazed to 
learn that a Convention had been practically agreed to 
between the Imperial and French Governments, by 
which, among other concessions, it was proposed to give 
the French the right to fish on the Labrador coast from 
Cape Charles to Blanc Sablon. The colony was at 
once up in arms. Evidence as to the importance of the 
Labrador fishery was taken by a Committee of the 
House of Assembly. Among those who testified were 
E. White, Thos. Rowe, John Rorke, John Walsh, Chas. 
Power, Bishop Feild, and Bishop Mullock. They stated 
that 700 sail of Newfoundland vessels went to Labra- 
dor each season, and carried on fishing operations 
from Blanc Sablon to Cape Harrison. The most im- 
portant part of the fishery was that carried on in the 
Straits of Belle Isle, where 170,000 to 180,000 quintals of 


codfish were taken on an average each year. Indigna- 
tion against the Imperial Government was the dominant 
note of the evidence, and many satirical references were 
made to their ignorance of the question, and their re- 
markable generosity to the French. 

The House of Assembly passed unanimously a 
vehement protest against the ratification of the Con- 
vention, and the influence of the neighbouring colonies 
was enlisted, with the effect that the Imperial Govern- 
ment realized that they had been on the brink of a 
serious error, and withdrew from the Convention. The 
news was conveyed to Newfoundland in the celebrated 
despatch from Mr. Henry Labouchere to Governor 
Darling : — 

" The proposals contained in the Convention having 
now been unequivocally refused by the Colony, they 
will of course fall to the ground ; and you are authorized 
to give such assurance as you may think proper, that 
the consent of the community of Newfoundland is 
regarded by Her Majesty's Government as the essential 
preliminary to any modification on their territorial or 
maritime rights." 

This is regarded as one of the most important docu- 
ments in the history of Newfoundland, and has been 
quoted by the colony in defence of its rights on several 
subsequent occasions. 

The resident population from Blanc Sablon to Sand- 
wich Bay, in 1856, was computed at 1553 persons. 
Attempts to collect duties on the Labrador were again 
made this year, but were very generally resisted. One 
Customs official with an eye to business pointed out 
that the firm of De Quettville, employing 250 men, 
served out to each five glasses of brandy daily, the 


duty upon which alone would make a considerable 

Governor Darling visited the coast during the sum- 
mer, probably wishing to see for himself the fishery 
which the mother country proposed to give away. 

The Reciprocity Treaty with the United States in 
1854 was said to have occasioned an increase in the 
number of their vessels fishing on the Labrador coast. 
Why that should have been so is not plain, as they 
already had an unrestricted right to that fishery. If 
such increase did take place, it was evidently a last 
spasmodic effort, as their interest in Labrador declined 
very rapidly soon after. In 1859 only fifty American 
and Nova Scotian vessels were reported in the straits, 
a great falling off from the numerous fleet which had 
formerly fished there. 

In the Appendix will be found a list of the exports 
or catch of fish on the Labrador. It will be seen that 
from 1830 to i860 no statistics are given. It has been 
a great disappointment to me not to be able to get the 
figures for this period, but after a careful search in 
every place I could think of, I have been obliged to 
abandon the hope of finding anything, and have con- 
cluded that no record was kept of the direct exports, 
or any estimate made of the total catch at that time. 

The principal information about the Labrador fish- 
eries from 1850 to 1870 is obtained from the reports 
made each year by the naval captains on the Fishery 
Protection Service. 

In 1862 the fishery was very poor, and the herring 
fishery a total failure. A Government regulation this 
year prohibited the barring of herring in seines, — a 
very wise law, as the destruction and waste by barring 
is enormous. The Nova Scotian and American vessels 


resisted the enforcement of this ordinance, the latter 
claiming that it could not be enforced against them 
as it was not the law before 1854, when the last 
Reciprocity Treaty had been made. Cape Harrison 
was yet considered the northern limit, but a few 
adventurous spirits had penetrated still farther north. 
The Moravian Missionaries at Hopedale in 1857 
describe the first arrival of an American trading vessel, 
and the demoralization which resulted from the sale 
of rum to the Eskimos. In 1859 several Newfound- 
land fishing schooners are reported at Hopedale, Nain, 
Hebron, and Okak. In the Nain diary, July 2nd, 1861, 
it is recorded that the Newfoundland schooners had 
made their appearance in the offing, and were cruising 
about in the open water, waiting for the ice to move 
off. It was no sooner gone than they came in, and 
usurped the fishing places used by the Eskimos. Six 
Newfoundland vessels fished at Hopedale in 1863, 
25 touched there in 1866, and 108 in 1868, while in 
1870 over 500 passed north, 145 being counted in a 
single day. 

The important northern Labrador fishery therefore 
sprang into being in 1863, and was actively prosecuted 
by 1870. The schooners going to the far north are 
termed "floaters," meaning that they are not generally 
attached to fishing establishments on the Labrador, 
but catch their fish wherever they can get it, and take 
it direct to Newfoundland ports, where it is cured. 
This fish is known to the trade as shore-cured Labra- 
dor, and constitutes one of the largest items in the 
cod fishing industry. 

The report of Captain Hood, the naval commander 
on the coast in 1865, was much fuller than usual. An 
attempt was made to take a census of the fishing popu- 


lation, and the catch of fish from Battle Harbour to 
Red Island, but I am of opinion that it is very incom- 
plete. He reported that there were between those 
points 1098 boats and 271 1 men, and the catch 116,700 
quintals codfish. The largest establishments were Black 
Tickle and Indian Harbour. 

The Newfoundland Chamber of Commerce, in 1866, 
petitioned the Imperial Government to send a naval 
vessel to survey the northern Labrador coast, which 
was then entirely uncharted. Accordingly, the next 
year Lieutenant Chimmo, in H.M.S. Gannet, was detailed 
for the work. He called in at Battle Harbour to get a 
pilot, but was unable to obtain one. The schooners had 
ail gone to Cape Harrison, where they were "doing what 
they liked with the fish." Lieutenant Chimmo found 
by careful observation that the whole coast had been 
placed on the charts ten or eleven miles too far to the 
eastward. His only chart was that of Lane, drawn in 
1772, which he found very incorrect. The coast had 
not been surveyed since. When he reached Cape Har- 
rison he was informed that about 200 Newfoundland 
vessels were fishing at Windy Tickle, 180 miles still 
farther north. He went into Aillik, where the Hudson 
Bay Company had a station, and also called at Hope- 
dale. Coming south he stopped at Indian Tickle, and 
was given a glowing account of the Labrador fishery 
by Mr. Warren (Matthew H.), who had his fishing 
rooms there. 3000 vessels were said to have passed 
through that well-known passage during the season, on 
the voyage north and return south, and the number of 
fishermen to have been 30,000. These seem rather 
large figures, and I have been able to find no evidence 
to support them. 

By the census of 1857 the population of Newfound- 


land was found to be 122,000, which would indicate 
about 40,000 men and boys. The number of schooners 
was 800, with crews approximately about 15,000 men. 
Making all due allowance for nine years' increment, it 
does not seem possible that the Labrador fleet from 
Newfoundland could have reached the figures given by 
Mr. Warren. 

The merchants of St. John's were much gratified at 
the prompt way in which the Imperial Government had 
carried out their request for a survey of northern Labra- 
dor, and tendered Lieutenant Chimmo their best thanks 
for his care in the matter. 

But it was not until 1876 that Commander Maxwell's 
charts, which gave the first reliable information about 
the coast, were published. These charts are still in use. 

In i860. Sir Leopold McClintock, in H.M.S. Bulldog, 
was sent by the Imperial Government to survey a route 
for the proposed North Atlantic Telegraph between 
Great Britain and America. His course was via Ice- 
land and Greenland to Indian Harbour on the Labra- 
dor, where he arrived on August 24th. Indian Harbour 
was then the most extensive of the northern fishing 
establishments, and under the charge of a Mr. Norman. 
Although there had been very little ice on the coast 
the fishery had been a poor one, owing to stormy 
weather. While the Bulldog was at Indian Harbour, 
however, the fishermen were taking codfish by means of 
jiggers as fast as they could haul them on board. As 
the Eskimos in Greenland had been seen using the 
same method, it was remarked that the Labrador 
fishermen could not improve upon the custom of the 
Eskimos. It was not, however, an original custom of 
the Eskimos. As a matter of fact, jiggers have been in 
use from very early times. In 17 16 complaints were 


made against their use by the French on the southern 
Labrador, as it was said that the fishery at Petit Nord 
(northern Newfoundland) had been ruined by them ; a 
statement which has happily not proved correct. At the 
present time their use is forbidden in Canadian waters. 

As a result of the soundings taken by the Bulldog it 
was demonstrated that a bank extends north and south 
of Hamilton Inlet for i8o miles, and at least lOO miles 
in an easterly direction. Sir J. C. Ross (Parliamentary 
Reports re Atlantic Telegraph) reported that this bank 
stretches parallel to the coast for a considerable distance 
north and south of Okak.^ 

The i??///<i'c'^ proceeded into Hamilton Inlet, surveying 
more or less carefully that important body of water. At 
Rigolette they met Mr. Smith, superintendent of the 
district for the Hudson Bay Company, who spoke 
highly of the healthiness of the climate, and who, as 
Lord Strathcona in our day, is a living v/itness to the 
truth of his statement. 

There were said to be about two hundred people living 
in Hamilton Inlet, but the Eskimos, who had once been 
so numerous, were fast dying out. It was told that on 
an island at the mouth of the Inlet, there were a number 
of skeletons of Eskimos strewed about the surface, 
showing that they had fallen victims at one time to a 
virulent contagious disease. These were no doubt the 
remains of that unhappy band of Eskimos who died of 
smallpox, caught from Kaubvick, the sole survivor of the 
party of Eskimos whom Cartwright took to England 
with him in 1773. That the skeletons should remain for 
nearly one hundred years is evidence of the remarkable 
anti-septic nature of the climate. It is more than likely 

^ Captain Charles Swayne, in 1753, ;^lso reported an important fishing 
bank about six leagues off the coast, extending from lat. 54" to lat. 57°. 


they are still there. The island was called Eskimo 
Island on account of this circumstance ; but, as there 
are many Eskimo Islands, it would not be inappropriate 
for the name to be changed to " Kaubvick's Island." 

We have heard how, in 1841, and again in 1856, half- 
hearted attempts were made to collect revenue on 
Labrador. These attempts were nullified principally 
through the efforts of the large English houses having 
establishments on the coast. But in 1862 the Govern- 
ment of Newfoundland decided to re-establish the 
Labrador Court, and to collect Customs duties regularly 
and systematically. 

There seems no reason why the duties should not 
have been collected without special legislation, but to 
make assurance doubly sure, and to remove any possible 
question of legality, the Customs Act of 1863 contained 
special clauses dealing with the collection of duties on 
the Labrador, In addition, " An Act to provide for the 
Collection of the Revenue, and for the better Adminis- 
tration of Justice at the Labrador," was passed at the 
same time, by which the Governor in Council was 
authorized to appoint a revenue officer for that service. 

Mr. James Winter received the appointment, and 
made his first voyage in the summer of 1863. In spite 
of the special legislation which had been enacted, several 
of the merchants, notably Messrs, Hunt and Henley, 
vigorously resisted the payment of duties. As cash was 
almost an unknown commodity on the coast, the collector 
was obliged to accept drafts from the various captains 
and agents on the mercantile houses they represented. 
When these drafts matured they were nearly all dis- 
honoured, and proceedings at law had to be taken to 
enforce payment. Hunt and Henley were very contu- 
macious, threatening to take proceedings against the 
2 E 


Governor, Sir Alex Bannerman, whenever he should land 
in England. They and other English firms carrying on 
a Labrador business, presented a memorial to the 
Secretary of State setting forth their grievances, and 
begging that the Newfoundland i\cts be disallowed. 
Their reasons for resisting the payment of the duties do 
not seem very conclusive, and appear to be derived 
mainly from the old privileges given to ship-fishers from 
England. They claimed that they carried on their 
business from England, and had very little communi- 
cation with Newfoundland, that they were not repre- 
sented in the Newfoundland Legislature, and that the 
duties collected were not spent for the advantage of 

The very unfair position of the Newfoundland traders 
and merchants, who had paid Customs duties in New- 
foundland, and had to come into competition with duty- 
free goods from England, was obvious, but naturally it 
did not appeal to them, and they fought hard for their 
ancient privileges. 

After some delay, the Secretary of State notified the 
memorialists that the Newfoundland Legislature was 
fully competent to impose duties on Labrador. To the 
Governor of Newfoundland he wrote suggesting that 
Labrador should be represented in the House of 
Assembly, a suggestion to which consideration was pro- 
mised ; and as it has been under consideration ever since, 
the promise may be considered to be amply fulfilled. 

The correspondence which took place before these 
Acts were ratified, was thought of sufficient importance 
for a special House of Commons Blue Book, which was 
issued in March, 1864, 

The reports of Mr. Winter, the Collector of Customs, 
and Mr. Benjamin Sweetland, the Judge of the newly- 


constituted Court, afford interesting information. Blanc 
Sablon was the most important settlement on the coast. 
De Quettville and Co., Le Boutillier Brothers, and two 
smaller Jersey firms carried on business there, bringing 
over nearly all their fishermen from Jersey each summer, 
and carrying them back at the end of the season. 
These men were paid 4s. gd. to 5s. 6d. for every 
100 fish, averaging 7 quintals per 1000 fish. About 
eighty Nova Scotian and two American vessels visited 
that port, and all protested against having to pay 
duties, but all finally consented to do so. The 
fishery had been good, averaging 70 quintals per 
man. At Sandwich Bay, Messrs. Hunt and Henley 
had taken about 1200 tierces of salmon. The Court 
visited twenty-two ports between Blanc Sablon and 
Hawk's Harbour, and heard twenty-three cases of a 
trivial character. The Judge stated that, " like most 
Circuit Courts, the moral effect is greater than the 
amount of business done" ; but considering the number 
of years Labrador had been without a Circuit Court, 
and the insignificant business found to be done, it does 
not appear that even the " moral effect " was very greatly 

This Circuit Court continued to make yearly visita- 
tions until 1874, when it was discontinued. The Act 
authorizing it is, however, still on the Statute Book, and 
can be put into force at any time by appointing officials 
and voting their salaries. (See Appendix.) The need 
for it, however, does not seem to be any greater now 
than in 1874, a fact which speaks eloquently for the 
peaceful and law-abiding character of the fishing popu- 
lation of Newfoundland.^ 

1 This Court has since been instituted again, and Mr. F. J. Morris 
appointed Judge. 


In 1868-9 the fishery in the straits and on the 
southern Labrador coast was a complete failure, and 
very great destitution prevailed in consequence, many 
deaths from starvation taking place among the resident 
population of the coast. These people rejoice in the 
title of " liveyeres," a West of England word supposed 
to be a corruption of " live here," At this period 
they numbered 2479 between Blanc Sablon and Cape 
Harrison, including about three hundred Eskimos and 
Montaignais Indians. They are generally the descend- 
ants of the pioneer furriers and salmon catchers who 
married Eskimo or Indian women, but also a good 
proportion of them are Newfoundlanders who stayed on 
the coast to take care of the fishing rooms and property 
left there, and remained from lack of initiative, or 
ability to get away. In spite of its hardships and pre- 
cariousness, the life seems to have attractions, and there 
are many instances of families coming to Newfoundland 
and also emigrating to the States and Canada with 
a view to bettering themselves, but after a few years' 
trial returning again to their old homes on bleak and 
barren Labrador. They have been continually in poverty 
and starvation, and the Government of Newfoundland 
has been many times called upon to supply them with 
food and necessaries. 

This year, (1869), marks the end of the American 
Labrador fishery. The sole vessel from the United 
States on the coast that year was a steamer sent to 
obtain, if possible, a cargo of herring, in which she 
was not successful. After this the reports state that no 
American vessels were heard of In 1870, the Labrador 
Steam Mail Service was begun, and has been gradually 
extended until now a comfortable steamer makes fort- 
nightly trips during the season, calling at the principal 


stations, as far north as Nain. The straits fishery in 1870 
was the best for twenty-one years, but the east coast was 
blocked with ice until the middle of August, and the 
fishery there consequently the poorest ever experienced. 

The French encroachments on the Labrador coast 
having been stopped, a new source of complaint arose. 
The Newfoundland fishermen began the reprehensible 
practice of selling bait to the French fishermen on 
the French shore, thus enabling them to secure the 
codfish which afterwards competed most seriously with 
their own catch in the European markets. 

In 1874 Mr. J. L. Macneil succeeded Mr. Pinsent as 
Judge of the Labrador Court. The fi.shery had been 
below the average, and the people consequently were 
very badly off. At Battle Harbour the previous 
winter, the main body of the seals had been driven in 
on the shore, and the people managed to secure 10,000 
— a God-send indeed ! 

The Government of Newfoundland employed Mr, H. 
Y. Hinde, the author of Explorations on the Labrador 
Coast, to investigate and report upon the northern 
Labrador fishery. He visited the coast in 1875-6, and 
made a report on the fisheries,, which, although perhaps 
not correct in all particulars, is yet a very valuable paper, 
and should be carefully studied by all who wish to get 
an insight into the nature and working of the fishery. 

He called particular attention to the hne of banks 
extending along the greater part of the Labrador 
coast, and prophesied that they would become the 
great fishing-ground of the future, — a prophesy which 
has not yet been fulfilled, but from the experience of 
vessels which have recently made trial of them, and 
have been most successful, it is probable that they will 
now begin to be regularly fished. 


Mr. Hinde reported that 400 vessels, carrying about 
3200 men, had passed north of Cape Mugford that 

It had long been known that vessels going to Labra- 
dor were systematically overloaded, and overcrowded 
with passengers — men, women, and children. The 
Labrador planters took with them not only their ser- 
vants for the fishery, male and female, but also their 
whole families, their goats, their pigs, their dogs, and 
their fowls. Seventy to eighty persons were often 
crowded into a little schooner of about forty tons. 
There were no conveniences of any kind, and no 
separation of the sexes. Decency was impossible, and 
vice was flagrant. At length, in 1880, the late Hon. J. 
J. Rogerson succeeded in getting a Commission of the 
House of Assembly appointed to examine into the 
matter, and to report. As a consequence an Act was 
passed in 1881 to put a stop to the scandalous con- 
dition of things. The clauses relating to Labrador are 
as follows : — 

Passenger Acconnnodation on Board Steamers and 

6. Sailing vessels carrying females engaged as servants in 
the fishery, or as passengers, between Newfoundland and 
Labrador, shall be provided with such separate cabins or 
apartments as will afford, at least, fifty cubic feet for each of 
such females ; and the owners of such vessels shall provide 
for such females sufficient accommodation for sanitary 

7. No more than one person for each registered ton shall 
be carried in saiUng vessels proceeding to or returning from 

8. The owners of such vessels shall provide sufficient boat 
accommodation for at least one-third of the persons on board 


such vessels carrying passengers between Newfoundland and 

9. The Governor in Council may make rules and regula- 
tions for effectually carrying out the provisions of sections six, 
seven, and eight of this chapter, and alter and amend the 
same from time to time, which rules and regulations, when 
published in the Royal Gazette^ shall be construed to form 
part of this chapter, and shall have the same effect in law as 
if they had been specially incorporated herein, 

10. For all violations of this chapter not hereinbefore 
provided for there shall be imposed a penalty not exceeding 
one hundred dollars for each offence, or in default of payment, 
of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months. 

It is feared, however, that they are still often disre- 
garded, and a more stringent enforcement of the Act is 
very much required. 

Betvv^een October 12th and 15th, 1885, terrific gales 
swept over the Labrador coast, causing enormous de- 
struction to the fishing fleet. Eighty schooners and 300 
lives were lost, and 2000 people rendered destitute. 
Steamers were sent at once to rescue the stranded 
survivors, and a large sum of money subscribed for the 
support of the widows and orphans of the ill-fated 
fishermen who had lost their lives in this terrible disaster. 

Since this period the Labrador fishery has proceeded 
steadily, subject only to the vicissitudes to which all 
fisheries are liable. There have been periods of scarcity, 
and periods of plenty. An enormous expansion has 
been induced by the high prices obtained for codfish 
during the past three years. But the year 1908 appears 
to mark a turning point, for the Labrador fishery has 
been short, and the prices low. 

But it is evident that a great expansion of the fisheries 
is possible. Among the archipelagos that fringe its 


enormous coast-line there is room for many times the 
number of fishermen that now go there. Also outside of 
the coast usually fished there is an enormous untouched 
fishing ground. From White Bear Islands to Cape 
Chidley there extends a line of banks no doubt teeming 
with cod. During the past three years a few adven- 
turous banking schooners have gone to the Labrador, and 
spread their trav/ls on the off-shore grounds. Their 
success has been marvellous. Properly equipped and 
properly supplied with bait, our schooners need never 
want for a catch of codfish. Schooners have also done 
remarkably well fishing with trawls along shore on 
southern Labrador. Being an innovation, it is viewed 
with great disfavour by trap fishermen. 

The one great impediment in the way of an increased 
Labrador fishery is the difficulty in marketing the fish. 
The use of traps is now universal on the Labrador, and 
the fish taken is generally small, and owing to the short- 
ness of the season cannot be made into hard dry salt 
fish. It does not keep well, and is all rushed off to 
market together, with the result that the markets are 
always glutted, and the returns small. The fish taken on 
the Labrador banks is, however, of large size, and it 
would seem a good plan to take it at once to some 
northern Newfoundland outport, where it could be cured 
in the same way as the fish caught on the Grand Banks. 
Such fish is worth, on an average, two or three dollars 
per quintal more than the ordinary Labrador fish, and 
if it could be substituted, would add enormously to the 
value of the fishery to the fishermen and to the country. 

That most valuable fish, — the halibut, — also frequents 
this off-shore fishing ground. American vessels travel 
there, 1400 miles and back again, solely for this fish. 
It seems possible that fast Newfoundland schooners may 


make a splendid business of supplying fresh halibut to 
the English markets from the Labrador banks. The 
distance is 1600 miles. 

It is a fish in great demand in England, where it sells 
for 5d. per pound, green. It is brought principally from 

The practice has arisen in recent years, for steamers to 
be employed to convey fishermen to the various fishing 
stations on the coast. Loud complaints have been made 
against the use of steamers by those who have only their 
schooners to take them down. They say the steamer 
crews take all the best trap berths. Petitions have been 
sent to the House of Assembly asking that a law be 
passed forbidding the practice, and a bill to that effect 
actually passed that House, but was thrown out by the 
Legislative Council. 

Such a retrograde piece of legislation is greatly to be 
deprecated. The wheels of progress cannot be stayed, 
and if the fishermen can get to their work quicker and 
easier by steamer so much the better. If steamers are 
to be forbidden, why not fast schooners ? and why not 
make the schooners from Green Bay wait for those from 
Conception Bay, so that all may be on the same footing ? 
which is absurd, to use Euclid's time-honoured phrase. 

It is impossible to find out the exact quantity of 
codfish caught on the Labrador coast in any one season. 
The exports from the coast direct to market average 
nearly 300,000 quintals per annum ; but the quantity 
brought back to Newfoundland is unknown. It varies 
considerably, and is estimated in different years at from 
150,000 to 350,000 quintals. The total catch by New- 
foundland fishermen, therefore, ranges from 450,000 to 
650,000 quintals. 

During the period from 1860-80 the herring fishery 


was very important. The fish were larger and fatter 
than any other known variety, and were marketed at 
good prices in Canada and Western America. After 
1880 this fishery rapidly declined, and in a few years 
became a thing of the past. The herring entirely aban- 
doned the coast. During the last two or three years 
they have again been seen, but in quantities too small to 
make them worth fishing. 

The seal fishery, which was one of the principal induce- 
ments to the first settlers on the coast, has long ceased 
to be commercially pursued by residents on the coast. 

The student of this history will, I think, be convinced 
that Newfoundland must be and will be mistress in her 
own waters, under the Crown of England, and that the 
extrinsic and unnatural privileges granted to the citizens 
of the United States, must be sooner or later abandoned. 
There are even many precedents for their abrogation.^ 
We have seen how the great fishery once carried on by 
New England vessels has been perforce abandoned, and 
how the privilege is now of little value. The future of 
the great fisheries of Newfoundland and Labrador 
belongs to the fishermen of those countries. One by one 
the contestants for a share in them have withdrawn. The 
ship-fishers from England long ago abandoned the 
struggle. By means of enormous bounties the French 
managed to continue until 1904, when they gracefully 
sold out, having then but little interest left to sell. 

The analogy for our American cousins is complete, 
and the deduction is plain. 

Except for the fisheries it is difficult to see how and 
why the population of Labrador should increase. The 

^ An article in Nineteenth Centtiry Review for October, 1908, strongly 
advises the abrogation of the Convention of 1818, and instances eight 
different occasions when the United States have themselves abrogated 
treaties which had become burdensome or out of date. 


lumbering industry is no doubt capable of some expan- 
sion. Enormous areas of wood suitable for paper pulp 
are reported on the Grand River and Hamilton Inlet, 
where there is unlimited water-power, and a great paper- 
making industry will undoubtedly be established there 
some day. 

But the fur-bearing animals and the caribou, it is 
said, will disappear with the forests, and with them the 
Indians and trappers, so that the net increase will be 

Although Labrador abounds in iron, no workable 
deposits have yet been made known. 

The Grand Falls ^ of the Hamilton River are one of the 
wonders of North America, and contain a stupendous 
water-power, which perhaps some day may be used for 
the generation of electricity. 

But Labrador has little promise for the white settler, 
and it is to the Eskimos that one would be inclined to 
look for a population ; but, alas ! they also are dying out. 
Except for those fortunate tribes which have been under 
the fostering care of the Moravian Missionaries, the 
Eskimo race has disappeared from Labrador, where at 
one time there were doubtless many thousands. At the 
Moravian settlements the population about holds its 
own. Were it not for the epidemics which have been 
criminally introduced there, they would have shown a 
substantial increase. Let us trust that the legislation 
needed to protect them may no longer be delayed, and 
that this deeply interesting race may again flourish on 
their native coasts. 

It is somewhat astonishing to find that while the 

^ Applications have recently been made to the Government for the right 
to use this water-power. 


spiritual needs of the Eskimos in the far north had been 
ministered to by the Moravian Brethren since 1771, and 
the Montaignais Indians in the Gulf of St. Lawrence 
had been converted to Christianity by the Recollet 
Missionaries very soon after the French colonization 
of Canada, and regularly visited by Roman Catholic 
priests from Quebec, the unfortunate white settlers on 
Labrador, the " liveyeres," remained long entirely neg- 
lected. Probably it was not realized that there were 
any inhabitants on that desolate coast. 

The earliest record I have been able to find of 
Missionary work on southern Labrador, states that the 
Methodists, prior to 1829, had sent several Missionaries 
to the coast, but were obliged to discontinue the work 
in that year. The Moravian Brethren note in their 
journal for 1825, that they had been visited by a Mr, 
Cozens from Newfoundland, who had been into Hamil- 
ton Inlet to convey a Methodist Missionary to reside 
there. But he returned after a year or two, disgusted 
at the unfruitfulness of his labours. 

The next clergyman of any denomination to visit 
Labrador, was Archdeacon Wix in 1831. The particu- 
lars of his visitation cannot now be obtained, but it was 
evidently a flying visit, as Bishop Feild could only hear 
of him at Venison Islands. 

In 1840, the Anglican Bishop of Quebec sent the 
Rev. E. Cusack to visit the people residing in the Straits 
of Belle Isle. In some places he was very badly received, 
but in others was called upon to marry and baptize. A 
Roman Catholic priest also travelled along the coast in 
the following year, ministering to those who professed 
that faith. Archbishop Howley, of Newfoundland, states 
in his Ecclesiastical History that the Labrador coast was 
attached to the Roman Catholic Episcopate of St. John's 


in 1820, and was regularly visited by a priest from 
St. John's. 

But except at the Moravian settlements, there was 
neither church nor school, nor priest nor teacher, located 
in the whole length and breadth of Labrador, 

When Bishop Feild was appointed to the Anglican 
Bishopric of Newfoundland in 1845, it came as a surprise 
to him to find that Labrador was also under his charge. 
He wrote to England to find out if such were the case, 
as Labrador was not mentioned in his commission. 
But as it was a dependency of Newfoundland he decided 
for himself in the affirmative, and at once began to plan 
a visit to its shores. This he first accomplished in 1848. 
He landed at Forteau, and the next day, Sunday, July 
30th, held service in a large store which had been lent 
for the purpose, to a congregation of about one hundred 
and fifty persons, mostly men. From there he travelled 
along the coast in the Church-ship Hawk, visiting all 
the principal settlements as far north as Sandwich Bay. 
The spiritual condition of the people was pitiable. In 
very few houses was there any pretence at religion. 
There were very few Bibles or Prayer-books, and fewer 
still who could read them. Marriages had been per- 
formed by the simple practice of attestation before 
witnesses, and even that ceremony was often neglected. 
Occasionally someone was found who could read, and 
one marriage was considered well performed when the 
Church of England marriage service was read by a 
Roman Catholic fisherman from Newfoundland. The 
children remained unbaptized, except when a reader 
happened along who could master the Church of 
England service provided for such instances. One 
father was very proud of the way his children had 
been baptized. When Bishop Feild asked the question^ 


as the Prayer-book directs, " By whom was this child 
baptized?" he replied, "By one Joseph Bird, and a 
fine reader he wor ! " 

Bishop Feild found about 1200 settlers professing 
to belong to the Church of England, although very 
kw of them had ever seen a clergyman. Dozens of 
couples presented themselves to him to be married, 
and literally hundreds of children were baptized. His 
zealous Missionary spirit was fired, and he at once 
determined that there should be churches and schools 
and clergymen on Labrador. 

On his return to St. John's he addressed a vigorous 
letter of appeal to the " Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel," asking for a grant of ;^200 a year, with 
which sum he purposed to start three missions at 
Forteau, Battle Harbour, and Sandwich Bay. His 
request was at once granted, and the money voted ; but 
his next difficulty was to find " the men, the right men, 
patient and laborious, content with small beginnings and 
slow results." But his magnetic personality and over- 
flowing zeal had the power of attracting to his assist- 
ance many able men imbued with the true Missionary 
spirit. The first to offer himself was the Rev. A. 
Gifford, who went to Forteau in 1849, followed in 1850 
by the Rev. H. P. Disney, to Francis Harbour. These 
zealous clergymen soon had churches built at Forteau 
and Francis Harbour. Also, in a few years, at Battle 
Harbour, Seal Island, Spear Harbour, Henley Harbour, 
and Camp Islands, churches or school-houses were 
erected. The experiences, the labours, the privations 
of these first Labrador Missionaries seem almost in- 
supportable in our easier-going times. But men were 
found willing to undergo them, and sixteen years later 
Bishop Feild wrote with pride, that there were then five 


churches on the Labrador, with active and able men 
ministering in them to a people who, a few years before, 
had been without religious instruction of any kind. 

The Church of England has ever since maintained 
the Missions thus started by Bishop Feild. Nor have 
the other Churches been negligent. 

By the last census, 1901, the population of Labrador 
is stated to be 3947, divided as follows : — Church of 
England, 1538; Roman Catholic, 332 ; Methodist, 638 ; 
and Moravians, 1377. There were 5 Church of England 
churches, 3 Roman Catholic, 4 Methodist, and 17 schools. 

The population showed a decrease from 1891 of 159, 
but the census was notoriously very badly taken, and the 
figures can only be considered approximately correct. 

In 1 90 1 the Rev. S. M. Stewart offered himself to the 
Bishop of Newfoundland for service in the diocese, and 
asked particularly to be allowed to go to the heathen 
Eskimos in Ungava. It has been told how the Mora- 
vians contemplated opening a mission there nearly a 
hundred years ago, as well as their reason for not 
undertaking it. For a hundred years longer the tribes 
inhabitating Hudson's Straits had been neglected, and 
no hand had been stretched out to help them. The 
inspiration which had moved Christian Erhardt and 
Jens Haven prompted Mr. Stewart to go to their assist- 
ance. The result of his eight years' work has been 
most encouraging. He is satisfied that even in this 
short time many have become real Christians, showing 
their faith by their amended lives. He has also been 
the means of causing the supply of liquor to the 
Eskimos at the trading stations in Hudson's Straits to 
be stopped. 



URISDICTION over Labrador has been transferred 
from Canada to Newfoundland and back again, 
several times over. 

While these changes have been noted in regular 
course during the progress of this history, it is thought 
important to deal with the whole matter at one time 
and in one chapter ; more particularly at this time, 
when the subject has assumed considerable importance 
owing to the dispute between Newfoundland and the 
Province of Quebec, as to the exact boundaries of their 
respective portions of Labrador. 

This does not pretend to be a judicial view of the 
question, but deals with it entirely from the New- 
foundland standpoint ; the arguments of the other 
side being entirely unknown and unimaginable by the 

The question might have remained in abeyance for 
many years to come, had it not been for the inception of 
a Lumbering enterprise on a considerable scale on the 
upper reaches of Hamilton Inlet. 

The Government of Newfoundland issued licences to 
this company to cut timber, exacted Customs dues, and 
otherwise exercised lordship over the land. 

The Province of Quebec, however, by virtue of an 
Act passed by that Province in 1898, appropriated all 



the southern side of Hamilton Inlet, "until it meets with 
the boundary of the territory of Newfoundland " ; but 
why they contented themselves with the southern side 
only is not easy to understand. As the aforesaid 
Lumber Company had cut some logs on that side of 
the river, the Government of Quebec made a technical 
seizure of the logs in order to bring the matter to an 
issue, and the case is shortly to be heard before the 
Privy Council. 

While Labrador may have been claimed by England 
by right of discovery, it does not appear that such claim 
was ever enforced ; and up to the latter part of the 
seventeenth century the country was practically a no- 
man's land. 

We have heard how the Hudson Bay Company in 
1670 obtained its marvellous charter from Charles H. 
At about the same period the southern coast was regu- 
larly visited by French fishermen, which indeed they 
had probably done continually since Jacques Cartier's 
time. In the early part of the eighteenth century, the 
French Government of New France granted seignorial 
rights over considerable tracts of the Labrador coast 
bordering the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Straits of Belle 
Isle. The north and south parts of the country were 
thus appropriated by England and France respectively, 
and by the Treaty of Utrecht, 17 13, it was agreed to 
divide the intervening coast. A Commission was 
appointed to make the division, respecting the claims 
of the Hudson Bay Company on the one hand, and 
the French seignories on the other. Although this 
Commission met, no decision was arrived at, and the 
country remained undivided. Finally, by the conquest 
of Canada in 1760, all Labrador fell into the hands 
of England, and her possession thereof was confirmed 
2 F 


by the Treaty of Paris, 1763. The Hudson Bay 
Company possessed all that portion of the peninsula 
of Labrador drained by rivers which fall into Hudson's 
Bay or Straits, and it became necessary to divide the 
rest of the country. By the Proclamation enforcing 
the Treaty of Paris, the boundaries of the newly- 
acquired provinces of Canada were defined. The 
province of Quebec was " bounded on the Labrador 
coast by the River St. John, and from thence by a 
line drawn from the head of that river, etc.," running 

The Proclamation continues : — 

" And to the end that the open and free fishing 
of our subjects may be extended to and carried 
on upon the coast of Labrador and the adjacent 
Islands, we have seen fit, with the advice of our 
said Privy Council, to put all that coast from the 
River St. John to Hudson's Straits, together with 
the Islands of Anticosti and Magdalene, and all 
smaller islands lying upon the said coast, under the 
care and inspection of our Governor of Newfound- 

It can hardly be contended that it was the intention 
of the Crown to leave the interior of the country, not 
included in the Hudson Bay Company's charter, un- 
appropriated and under no jurisdiction. And, in fact, 
a line drawn from the head of the St. John River to 
the entrance of Hudson's Strait, (although it will be 
noticed that the entrance was not then specified,) will 
include nearly the whole interior not granted to the 
Hudson Bay Company. 

The Commission of Sir Thomas Graves, Governor 
of Newfoundland, April 25th, 1763, is substantial 


proof that the whole residue was intended. It 
reads : — 

" And we do hereby require and command all officers, 
Civil and Military, and all other inhabitants of our said 
Islands and the Coasts and Territories of Labrador 
and the Islands adjacent thereto or dependent thereon 
within the limits aforesaid, to be obedient, aiding 
and assisting you in the execution of this our Com- 

The fishermen and the Eskimos upon the coasts, 
together with every band of Nascopee or Montagnais 
Indians that roamed the remotest fastnesses of Labra- 
dor, were thus called upon to obey the Governor of 

In 1767 Sir Hugh Palliser, then Governor of New- 
foundland, in a proclamation, says : " All inhabi- 
tants, settlements and possessions upon this coast 
of Labrador between the limits of the Government 
of Quebec ajtd the limits of the Hudson Bay Company" 
which clearly shows that he claimed jurisdiction over 
the whole residue of the peninsula ; that is to say, 
the whole basin of the rivers which empty into the 
Atlantic, and into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, from 
the entrance of Hudson's Straits to the River St. 

Sir Hugh Palliser endeavoured to carry out upon 
the Labrador the same plan of a free fishery which 
was in force in Newfoundland. By a " free fishery " 
was meant that no vested rights were allowed in any 
portion of the coast, or in any stages, flakes, etc., the 
design being to prevent permanent settlements, and 
to preserve the fishery for vessels coming out from 
England every season. 


Reeves, in his History of Newfoundland, rather 
quaintly says : — 

" But their claims to a free fishery seem to be these : 
namely, to be free of all inspection from Government ; 
no justice, no courts, no custom house." 

On the Labrador coast, however, there were certain 
settlers, thirteen in number, who claimed property in 
fishing posts and settlements under grants from the 
French Governors of Quebec. These people resisted 
Palliser's ordinances, and took an action against him 
which was heard in Westminster Hall. The Board 
of Trade, in a memorial, June 24th, 1772, recommended 
to His Majesty that Labrador should be re-annexed 
to the Government of Quebec. They gave the follow- 
ing reasons : First, that the fishery on the Labrador 
was principally a seal fishery, which was sedentary, 
and consequently the rules for a " free fishery " which 
had been framed more especially for the cod and whale 
fisheries were not suitable there ; and second, that a 
large part of the coast was held under grants from 
the French Governors, which His Majesty by treaty 
was bound to respect. 

Under the encouragement of Palliser's fishery regu- 
lations on the Labrador, a considerable number of 
merchant adventurers, as they styled themselves, had 
come regularly from Britain, and in a memorial to 
Palliser in 1767, they thanked him for his protection, 
and declared themselves determined " to pursue the 
ship fishery with spirit on that coast," and it was pro- 
bably owing to opposition from this direction that the 
recommendation of the Board of Trade was not acted 
upon until 1774. 

In that year the famous "Quebec Act" was passed. 


By it " all such territories, islands, and countries, which 
have since the loth February, 1763, been made part of 
the Government of Newfoundland," were annexed to 
the province of Quebec. 

It will be observed that the " Coast of Labrador " 
mentioned in the proclamation of 1763, had in this 
Act, 1774, become "territories, islands, and countries," 
which alone is proof that no mere strip of coast was 
intended in the first instance. The debates which took 
place in the House of Commons on the " Quebec Act " 
are of great historical interest. There were no authorized 
reports of debates at that time, and severe punishment 
was visited upon any persons who ventured to make 
public anything more than the barest outline of what 
transpired there. But it happened that among the 
members of the House of Commons at that time was 
an expert shorthand writer. Sir Henry Cavendish, 
member for Lostwithiel, who, solely for his own use, 
took very full notes of the proceedings of the House 
from 1768 to 1774. 

Like Pepys Diary, these shorthand notes remained 
hidden for many years, but were finally discovered 
among the Egerton manuscripts in the British Museum. 
They were easily deciphered, and were printed in book 
form in 1839. 

Among those who took particular interest in the 
paragraph dealing with Labrador, were Captain Phipps 
and Admiral Sir Charles Saunders of the Royal Navy, 
Mr. George Prescott of the Board of Trade, Lord North, 
the Solicitor-General, and Edmund Burke. 

The point principally debated was whether the seal 
fishery carried on by the residents of the shore was 
interfered with by the cod fishermen who came out 
every spring from England. Very hazy ideas were 


entertained on the subject, but it was made out that 
the seal fishery required a great deal of nicety and 
care, and that the seals were very easily frightened off. 
But, as we have seen, the real trouble was that the 
terms of Palliser's Act could not be made to harmonize 
with the seigniorial rights granted on the coast. 

A great deal was said, particularly by Captain Phipps 
and Sir Charles Saunders, on the importance of the 
cod fishery as a nursery for British seamen. The 
remarks of the latter were particularly strong. " Sir," 
said he, " the fishery is worth more to you than all 
the possessions you have put together. Without the 
fishery your possessions are not safe ; nor are you safe 
in your own country. Instead of doing anything to hurt 
your fishery new methods should be taken to rear more 

No faith was placed in the loyalty of the new colony 
of Quebec, and it was thought that the cod fishery on 
the Labrador coast as carried on from England would 
be seriously jeopardized if placed under their control. 

Sir Charles Saunders pointed out that it would be 
impossible to go to Quebec to have disputes settled, as 
" the loss of time and expense would ruin any fishery, 
whereas the Governor of Newfoundland could settle 
them in half an hour," — a statement which passed 
without contradiction. 

Edmund Burke, who had fought other clauses of the 
Act on behalf of the colonists of Nev/ York as against 
the Canadians, on the respective boundaries of the two 
colonies, objected to the introduction of the fishery 
questions, which he thought should be dealt with in a 
separate Bill, when the requirements of the sedentary 
and transitory fisheries would be legitimate objects of 


The Solicitor-General, who followed, made use of 
these words : — 

"It is extremely difficult upon such a point as this 
to contend against the authority of the honourable 
gentleman, (Sir Charles Saunders, Admiral in command 
of the fleet at the taking of Quebec,) to whom it may 
perhaps be very truly said, that this country owes 
all the fisheries it has upon the coast of Newfoundland." 

He suggested a clause which was intended to 
preserve to the Government of Newfoundland the 
supervision of the cod fishery on the coast of Labrador, 
but it was not put to the House, and the original clause 
was carried by 89 votes to 48. 

In the House of Lords the bill met with the 
opposition of the great Earl of Chatham, who, though 
extremely ill, came to the House of Lords to speak 
against it. He prophesied " that it would shake the 
affections and confidence of His Majesty's subjects in 
England and Ireland, and finally lose him the hearts of 
all Americans." 

The King, in giving consent to the bill, observed that 
" it was founded on the clearest principles of justice and 
humanity, and would, he doubted not, have the best 
effect in quieting the mind and promoting the happi- 
ness of our Canadian subjects." 

It was said of this Act that "it not only offended 
the inhabitants of the province itself in a degree that 
could hardly be conceived, but had alarmed all the 
English provinces in America, and contributed more 
perhaps than any other measure to drive them into 
rebellion against their Sovereign." 

The clause dealing with the Labrador was of course 
but a very unimportant part of the Act. 


Although this transfer was made, it does not appear 
that the province of Quebec ever exercised any juris- 
diction on the debated coast. On the contrary, the 
Governors of Newfoundland, who were also the com- 
manders of the fleet in those waters, continued to 
do so. 

The best English atlases of the period continued to 
state that Labrador was a dependency of Newfound- 

In the course of years it was found that the Labrador 
fishery was carried on almost entirely by Newfoundland 
or West-country fishermen, and that it was very much 
more convenient for the Government of that territory to 
be exercised from Newfoundland than from Quebec. 

Great numbers of American fishing vessels also visited 
the coast every season, and a great deal of smuggling 
was carried on and many lawless acts committed. 

In the chapter dealing with the " Americans on the 
Labrador" will be found Governor Holloway's letter, 
written in 1807, describing the condition of affairs, and 
strongly recommending that Labrador be again trans- 
ferred to Newfoundland. His advice was taken, and in 
1809 an Act was passed, entitled "An Act for Establish- 
ing Courts of Judicature, etc.", which recited the pro- 
clamation of 1763, and the Quebec Act of 1774, and 
declared that " such parts of the said coasts of Labrador 
from the River St. John to ' Hudson's Straits ' " (not 
entrance to) and the islands on said coast, including 
Anticosti and excepting the Magdalen Islands, as were 
annexed to Canada in 1774, should be re-annexed to 
the Government of Newfoundland, 

This state of affairs continued until 1825, when 
another change was made. It was found necessary to 
extinguish all feudal and seigniorial rights in Lower 


Canada, and to convert the same into the tenure of 
free and common soccage. An Act was therefore 
introduced into the Imperial ParHament to accomplish 
this (6 Geo. IV, cap. 59). But in addition to the 
seigniorial rights in Canada, there were also the seign- 
iorial rights on Labrador. After the passing of the 
Judicature Act, 1809, Governor Holloway wrote to the 
Governor of Lower Canada, Sir J. H. Craig, asking 
him " to assure the possessors of those grants that 
they will not be interrupted in the quiet enjoyment 
of them." Now it was decided to convert all seign- 
iorial grants as above described, and apparently it 
was considered necessary to transfer that portion of 
the Labrador where these grants existed to Lower 
Canada, in order that they might be included in the 
conversion decided upon. The Chamber of Commerce, 
St. John's, protested loudly against any partition of 
Labrador, but in spite of their protests (see Appendix), 
this Act declared that " so much of the said coast as 
lies to the westward of a line to be drawn due north 
and south from the bay or harbour of Anse Sablon 
inclusive, as far as the 52nd degree of north latitude 
with the island of Anticosti, are re-annexed to the 
province of Lower Canada." 

This means that a section of the coast from Blanc 
Sablon to the 52nd parallel, and along that parallel to 
the River St. John, was taken from Newfoundland and 
given to Lower Canada, being practically the basin of 
all rivers falling into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. That 
such was clearly understood by the province of Lower 
Canada at that time is proven by the accompanying 
" Figurative Plan," drawn by Wm. Sax, Provincial Land 
Surveyor, and submitted to the House of Assembly 
of Lower Canada in 1829. 


The peninsula of Labrador was thus divided roughly 
as follows : — 

The basin of the rivers falling into Hudson's Bay 
and Hudson's Straits belong to the Hudson Bay 
Coinpany ; the basin of rivers falling into the Gulf 
of St. Lawrence to the province of Lower Canada ; and 
the remainder of the peninsula, the basin of rivers fall- 
ing into the Atlantic, to the colony of Newfoundland. 

In 1 87 1 the rights of the Hudson Bay Company 
were purchased by Canada. 

Now it was very evident that if the country to the 
south of the 52nd parallel was taken from Newfound- 
land and given to Canada, the country to the north of 
that line must still remain vested with Newfoundland. 
And it is this very tract of country which is now claimed 
by the province of Quebec. 

A letter will be found in the Appendix to this chapter, 
from Captain Wm, Martin, written in 1821, from which it 
will be seen that he was sent by Sir Charles Hamilton, 
the Governor of Newfoundland, to the head waters of 
Hamilton Inlet ; that he ascended the river for ninety 
miles, and reported upon the condition of the Indians 
and settlers there ; thus indicating Sir Charles Hamil- 
ton's view of the scope of his jurisdiction. 

In 1826 the Labrador Court was instituted, and was 
continued until 1834. Regular visits were made to 
Rigolet and to some other point on Hamilton Inlet, 
probably North-West River, every year. 

A case that was settled by this Court in 1828, has a 
very important bearing on the boundary question. A 
dispute had arisen as to the right to the salmon fishery 
in the Kinnamish River, falling into Hamilton Inlet on 
the south side, about opposite to North-West River. 
The Court visited the river and duly adjudicated upon 


the case, thus clearly establishing Newfoundland's 
jurisdiction over the very territory now claimed by 

This "peripatetic" Court was discontinued because 
of the heavy cost and lack of business. The Sheriff of 
this Court also collected duties. 

In 1840 Mr. Elias Rendell was sent to collect duties 
upon the Labrador, and went a considerable distance 
into Hamilton's Inlet. 

In 1856, it was proposed to institute again the Labra- 
dor Court and the collection of revenue, but the cost 
was considered to be too great. 

In the minutes of evidence taken before the Select 
Committee of the House of Commons on the Hudson 
Bay Company, in 1857, we find the following important 
evidence. A letter had been put in, stating that in the 
neighbourhood of Fort Nascopie, " the Nascopie Indians 
had been dying from starvation in great numbers ; 
whole camps of them were found dead, without one 
survivor to tell the tale of their sufferings ; others sus- 
tained life in a way the most revolting, by using as food 
the dead bodies of their companions ; some even bled 
their own children to death and sustained life with 
their bodies." One reason offered for this terrible con- 
dition of affairs was that the Hudson Bay Company's 
factor had not supplied them with enough ammunition. 
Sir Geo. Simpson, the Governor of the Hudson Bay 
Company's territories, was giving evidence, and was 
closely questioned as to this circumstance. The 
following is the minute of evidence : — 

Q. " In your thirty-seven years' experience in that 
territory you have never heard of any transactions like 
that, or deaths like that?" A. "Never, except in Mr, 
Kennedy's letter ! " 


Q. "Not in your own experience?" A. "Certainly 

Q. "In what part of the country is that ? " A." Upon 
the Labrador coast." 

Q. " Then you do not believe in that statement ? " 
A. " I do not." 

Q. "Where is Fort Nascopie?" A. "It is on the 
Labrador coast." 

Q. That is in Canada, is it not?" A. " It is in (be- 
longs to) Newfoundland." 

Q. " So that the northern peninsula does not belong to 
the Hudson Bay Company?" A. " The whole does not." 

Q. " But is that Fort which Mr. Roebuck is ques- 
tioning you about in Labrador, or is it in Rupert's 
Land ? " ^. '' It is in Labrador." 

Further on, the following question was asked : — 

Q. " Is there any arrangement with the Government 
of Labrador, by which you use the territory for your 
purposes?" A. " It is open for anybody." 

Q. " In truth, is it practically unoccupied ? " 
A. "Yes." 

Fort Nascopie was situated right at the head waters 
of Hamilton River, about 54° north and 65° west, and 
400 miles from the coast. 

This enquiry was held at the instigation of Canada, 
which wished to limit the powers and jurisdiction of 
the Hudson Bay Company. Every point of the 
evidence was jealously investigated by Chief Justice 
Draper, in Canada's behalf. That this statement of 
Sir Geo. Simpson passed unquestioned by him, and 
was accepted by the Committee of the House of Com- 
mons, will, I think, be regarded as conclusive evidence 
as to the acknowledged jurisdiction of Newfoundland in 
Labrador at that time. It will be noticed that Sir 


Geo. Simpson said that Fort Nascopie was on the 
Labrador coast — ^00 miles inland ! 

The Revenue Act for 1863 made regulations for the 
collection of duties at Labrador, and a special Act was 
passed at the same time, providing for the collection of 
such duties, and also again instituting a Court of Civil 
and Criminal Jurisdiction of the Coast. The Act was 
immediately enforced. A notable instance occurred in 
1864, when Mr. D. A. Smith, (now Lord Strathcona), 
agent for the Hudson Bay Company at North-West 
River, about one hundred and forty miles from the 
mouth of Hamilton Inlet, paid the full amount of 
the duties required, saying that it was not the intention 
of the company to present any opposition to the 
payment of duties, the Act permitting the levying of 
duties having received the Royal Assent. 

In 1873-4 small-pox was very prevalent in Canada, 
and the Hudson Bay Company feared it would be intro- 
duced among the Mountaineer Indians in Labrador. 
They therefore requested the Newfoundland Govern- 
ment to send a physician to vaccinate them. Dr. Crowdy 
was accordingly sent in 1874 to North-West River, where 
he vaccinated over three hundred Indians, all inhabitants 
of the interior. 

These instances are quite sufficient to prove that 
Newfoundland has always exercised jurisdiction over 
the disputed inland territory. 

The Commission of Sir Thomas Greaves in 1763, the 
proclamation of Sir Hugh Palliser in 1767, and the 
Quebec Act 1774, are all proof that the coast carried 
with it the territory at the back of the same. It has 
also been pointed out that in the very first delimitation, 
by the proclamation of 1763, the boundary of the 
province of Quebec " on the Labrador coast',' is the 


head of the St. John River, which is about one hundred 
miles inland, and according to maps of that period was 
then considered to be much farther. 

The use of the term " river basin " in this account of 
the changes which have been made in the exercise of 
Government over the Labrador, while it has not been 
used in any official papers, seems particularly applicable. 
Having begun by giving certain seas, rivers, etc., and 
the adjoining countries to the Hudson Bay Company, 
the same idea seems to have influenced the division 
made in 1763, 1774, 1809, and 1825. The territory 
bounded on the north by the 52° parallel between 
Blanc Sablon and the River St. John, is approximately 
the country drained by all rivers falling into the Gulf 
of St. Lawrence. 

The boundary line between Newfoundland and 
Canadian territories on the Labrador seems therefore 
to be roughly as follows : — 

Starting from the most northern of the Button 
Islands at the entrance to Hudson's Strait, about 60° 50" 
N., 60° 40" W., it runs almost due south until it reaches 
the 50° parallel of north latitude, then westerly to 
about 6f W., then in a south-easterly direction along 
the head waters of the Attikonak River to the 52° 
parallel, then due east along that parallel until it reaches 
a line to be drawn north and south of Blanc Sablon, 
then south to Blanc Sablon. 

That Newfoundland is the proper country to have 
jurisdiction over Labrador, seems hardly to need 

The fisheries must ever be the chief consideration in 
that barren land, and it is Newfoundland that will con- 
tinue to send forth the army of fishermen to populate 
the coasts for the short summer season. It is at the 


fishing establishments on the coasts that permanent 
inhabitants will be found, and from these fishing 
establishments, as a nucleus, will branch out any 
further development of the country which may be 
possible. The lumber companies on Hamilton Inlet 
probably have a prosperous future before them for 
many years, but lumbering cannot become an im- 
portant industry on the Labrador. No minerals of 
commercial value have yet been found on Labrador. 
Presuming that they are found, and large mines 
developed, presuming that the lumber industry is 
maintained or even increased, presuming that the 
wealth of furs continues to be drawn from the interior 
of Labrador, it is to the Atlantic coast that all must 
be brought for shipment, and it is from the Atlantic 
coast that all supplies must be taken. The lord of 
the sea-board must be the lord of the hinterland 
properly pertaining to it. A divided authority would 
occasion numberless disputes and produce a very un- 
comfortable condition of affairs. 

By force of law, custom, and logic, Newfoundland 
claims Labrador from Blanc Sablon to the northern- 
most of the Button Islands, and all the country drained 
by rivers falling into the sea on that part of the coast. 


" His Majesty's Brig ' Clinker,' 

" IvERTOKE Inlet, 2^th July, 1821. 

" I arrived in the entrance of this Inlet the 12th instant, 
having but hght and variable winds from our leaving St. John's ; 
passage extremely difficult from the quantity of ice on the 
coast ; had we not run inside the islands from Spotted Island 
to Ivertoke, we could not have proceeded, as we skirted along 
thirty miles of field ice, and I found, after anchoring at Grady 
Harbour, one of the islands at the entrance of the Inlet 
farther to the northward, navigation yet unopened. From the 
13th to 23rd I have been employed in ascertaining the extent 
and source of this Inlet. I run up in the brig 140 miles from 
N.N.W. to W. & S., distance across from three to twenty 
miles in widest part ; thence I proceed in a shallop (which a 
Canadian merchant kindly offered to accompany us) with 
canoes to the source, where we arrived at a grand waterfall or 
rapids, one backing the other ninety feet high. I have had 
communications with the Red Indians. At first they hid 
themselves from us. After a httle coaxing, and, as far as we 
were able, gave them to understand we came to assist them, 
they became in a short time familiar. Next day I prevailed 
on them to come on board ; seven canoes of them visited us. 
I regaled them with plenty of beef, pudding, and grog. Three 
accompanied us up the river fifty miles from the brig. The 
Canadians have extensive establishments in the salmon fishery, 
but their principal gain is the fur trade with the Red Indians. 
The fishing (cod) establishments up the river for forty miles 



are numerous, principally Americans for the season. I am 
now at anchor in a place called the Narrows. I expect to be 
enabled to proceed for Port Manvers about the ist August. 
This goes by shallop to Sandwich Bay for the first conveyance. 
I have the honour to be, sir, 

" Your most obedient, humble servant, 

" (Signed) Wm. Martin. 

"To Sir Charles Hamilton, Bart., 
" Commander-in-Chief, etc." 


1. The Court of civil and criminal jurisdiction at I^abrador 
shall be a Court of record called the Court of Labrador, and 
shall be presided over by one Judge, appointed or to be 
appointed by the Governor in Council ; and shall, over all 
such parts of Labrador as lie within the Government of 
Newfoundland, have jurisdiction, power and authority, to hear 
and finally determine all criminal prosecutions for assaults 
and batteries, and for larcenies without force to the person, 
committed within the limits aforesaid, and all actions and 
suits of a civil nature, wherein the debt damage or thing 
demanded shall not exceed in amount or value five hundred 

2. The proceedings of the said Court shall be summary; a 
record of such proceedings shall be kept and signed by the 
Judge thereof; and the forms of process and other proceedings 
in civil cases shall be as set out in the schedule to this chapter 
annexed, and in criminal matters shall be those used in 
summary proceedings of a like character by Justices of the 
Peace in this island. 

3. The salary of the Judge of such Court shall not exceed 
eleven hundred and fifty-four dollars ; and there shall be such 
officers of the said Court as the Governor in Council shall 
appoint ; and the salaries of such officers shall be fixed by the 

2 G 


4. Any person against whom any judgment or order of the 
said Court may be given in any matter over two hundred 
dollars, or where the matter in dispute shall relate to the title 
of any lands or fishery, or where the right in future may 
abound, may within two days of such judgment or order 
appeal therefrom to the Supreme Court, giving one day's 
notice to the opposite party of such intended appeal ; and 
upon such appellant, within seven days, giving security to the 
satisfaction of the Judge, for the speedy prosecution of such 
appeal for the performance of the judgment of the Court of 
Labrador, should the same be affirmed or the appeal dismissed, 
and in such last mentioned cases also for the payment of the 
costs of such appeal, execution shall be stayed upon the 
judgment of the Court below : Provided that such Judge may, 
upon reasonable grounds, extend the time for such appeal, and 
when he shall think it necessary, reserve any question of law 
arising in any case before him for the consideration of the 
Supreme Court, suspending his judgment in the meanwhile 
until such question shall have been determined. 

5. When an appeal shall have been allowed in m.anner 
aforesaid, a copy of all proceedings in the Court below, 
authenticated under the hand and seal of the Judge thereof 
and of any other officer, if any such, who may be appointed 
for that purpose, shall be transmitted by such Judge to the 
Registrar of the Supreme Court at St. John's ; and after ad- 
judication the Supreme Court shall carry such adjudication 
into effect by its own process, or direct that the same be 
carried into effect by the Court below, 

6. The Judge of the said Court shall be, ex officio, a Justice 
of the Peace for the Island of Newfoundland and its depend- 
encies, with the like power and authority as any Stipendiary 
Magistrate or Justice of Peace lawfully appointed in New- 

7. Criminal offenders sentenced by the said Court to im- 
prisonment, and debtors arrested under final process may be 
confined in any place of security within the limits aforesaid 


the said Judge may direct, or may be conveyed to any gaol 
in Newfoundland, there to remain until removed or discharged 
in due course of law, 

8. The provisions of the law of attachment in this Colony, 
as defined by the practice and mode of procedure in the 
Supreme Court, shall be applied to and used in the said Court 
of Labrador, so far as may be applicable : Provided that an 
attachment may issue for any amount exceeding ten dollars. 

To the Right Honorable Earl Bathiwst, K. G., His 
Majesty s Principal Secretary of State for the Colonial 
Department, etc. 


Humbly Sheweth 

That Your Lordship's MemoriaUsts having observed by 
the public Newspapers that leave has been granted to bring a 
Bill into Parliament to annex part of the Coast of Labrador 
to the Government of Canada, and not knowing how much 
of the said Coast it may be intended to comprehend in such 
Bill, beg leave to state to Your Lordship the very great im- 
portance of these Fisheries of continuing under the Govern- 
ment of Newfoundland all such parts of that Coast as are 
resorted to from thence. 

That between Sixty and Seventy Vessels are annually fitted 
out for the Port of Saint John's alone, and nearly two hun- 
dred from Conception Bay, employing together nearly Five 
thousand men in the Labrador Fishery, besides which others 
proceed thither from other parts of the Island, and that of 
late years the Bank Fishery having been less productive than 
formerly the Vessels employed therein are for the most part 
sent to the Labrador in the summer season. 

That since the cession to France of the North part of this 
Island (usually denominated the French Shore) nearly all the 


Vessels employed in the Seal Fishery are afterwards sent to 
the Labrador, and that the Seal Fishery has lately assumed a 
degree of importance which entitles it to the highest con- 
sideration, having this Spring yielded employment to Five 
Thousand men at a Season which the Climate would afford 
them no other means of Support. 

That the Fishery at Labrador commences at a later period 
of the Season than on the shores of this Island now occupied 
by the British, and affords time for the Seal Fishery to be 
fully compleated, as that to the French Shore formerly did, and 
that the Labrador and Seal Fisheries are thereby well adapted 
to each other ; and that moreover the vessels that are 
necessary for the Seal Fishery would now be absolutely use- 
less in any other branch of the Cod Fishery than that to 
Labrador, and so remain unemployed except during the con- 
tinuance of the Seal Fishery, which is but two months in the 
Year, and for the single use of which their Owners could not 
afford to keep them. Whence it will appear to Your Lordship 
that every impediment to the Labrador Fishery hath a direct 
tendency to reduce the Seal Fishery. 

That the whole business of supplying these Fisheries is 
involved in a course of settlement to be made in the Fall of 
the Year, the supplies being advanced in the Spring by the 
Merchants to the Fishermen on credit, and for the most part 
entirely on the faith of the voyage ; that it would therefore be 
absolutely impossible to continue this Fishery in any place 
beyond the reach of our Supreme Court of Judicature ; which 
has moreover by a long course of decisions become the 
depositary of all its custom_s and usages ; and that the several 
laws made for the protection of the Fisheries, being engrafted 
on those customs and usages, are, and only can be, applied or 
properly understood within the Government of Newfoundland. 

That the annexation to Canada of any part of the Coast of 
Labrador usually resorted to from hence would oppose such 
difficulties to the Settlement of Accounts as necessarily to 
lessen the confidence and ultimately destroy the credit upon 


which the Fisheries are carried on and without which they 
could not subsist, and that this evil could not be remedied, 
even by the establishment of Courts of Judicature on that 
Coast, because the greater number of causes should originate 
in the Courts here where the transactions have taken place 
and because the Appeal from Labrador Courts, it is appre- 
hended, would after such annexation lie to Quebec, whither it 
would be equally impossible for Plaintiff or Defendant to 

That every event of a Criminal Prosecution would also be 
attended not only with great inconvenience but with absolute 
ruin to many individuals should they be carried from their 
Fisheries on the Labrador to Quebec for the purpose of 
giving evidence on such prosecutions ; whereas they always 
return here in the regular course of their business at that 
Season of the Year in which it is usual for our Supreme 
Court to hold its sittings of Oyer and Terminer. 

Your Lordship's Memorialists therefore humbly pray that 
the Coast of Labrador may be continued under the Govern- 
ment of Newfoundland as settled by the Act 49 Geo. 3. 
cap. 27. 

And your Memorialists will ever pray. 


President of the ChaiJibej' of Commerce 
of St. fohii's, Neivfotindland. 
St. John's, Newfoundland, 
May 20TH, 1825. 


THE last chapter in this book is naturally devoted 
to Dr. Grenfell and his great philanthropic work 
among the fishermen and settlers of Labrador. 

In 1 89 1 Sir Francis Hopwood, Secretary of the 
Board of Trade, (now Under Secretary of State for 
the Colonies), visited St. John's on business connected 
with his office. While staying at Government House, 
the late Sir Terence O'Brien, then Governor of the 
Colony, drew his attention to the great fleet of fishing 
v^essels and the enormous transient population visiting 
the coast of Labrador every summer. Sir Francis was 
a Director of the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen, 
which had been carrying on, and still continues, such 
a noble work among the fishermen in the North Sea. 
The probability that the fishing population of Labrador 
were equally in need of the services of the Mission was 
at once apparent to him ; and when he returned to 
England he brought the matter to the notice of that 
Society, with the result that in the following year 
Dr. Grenfell, in the Mission ship Albert, was sent out 
to investigate this new field of labour. 

The Albert arrived in St. John's on July 9th, 1892, 
the day after the great fire which destroyed two-thirds 
of the city, and left 15,000 people homeless. 

Proceeding shortly on his destined voyage, Dr. 


Facing p. 454 


Grenfell found the population, both resident and tran- 
sient, of the long, dreary Labrador coast, in greater 
need of help than the homeless thousands of St. John's. 
But their condition was not the result of any sudden 
catastrophe. Long years of isolation, privation, 
ignorance, and neglect had reduced the residents of 
the country to the depths of poverty and misery, and 
the floating population was in but little better case. 

The origin of the " liveyeres," as the residents are 
called, has been already given. These poor people 
become extraordinarily attached to their homes, un- 
attractive as they may appear to inhabitants of more 
favoured portions of the globe. It has often been 
suggested that the best method of settling their 
problem would be to take them all off the coast 
and place them where they could earn a livelihood, 
and be in touch with civilization. But it is not at 
all easy to induce them to leave. Dr. Grenfell has 
known many instances of families who, as a result 
of a lucky fishery or a good year's trapping, have 
been able to leave for Canada or the United States, 
but after a year or two's experience have returned 
to their former homes. After a life spent in the 
freedom of Labrador's rugged wastes, the crowded 
abodes of civilization were unendurable. 

While some families contrive to maintain them- 
selves in a rough plenty, the greater number are 
always in the depths of poverty. The margin be- 
tween these two conditions is slight and easily broken 
down. An accident or illness, a bad fishery, or an 
unsuccessful furring season, plunges an independent 
family into direst poverty, from which they cannot 
extricate themselves unaided. Only last summer 
Dr. Grenfell found a family living on an island in 


Hamilton Inlet in an absolutely destitute condition. 
The mother was of Scotch descent, the father a half- 
breed Eskimo, and there were five or six children. 
They were half clad and had no provisions ; they 
had neither gun, nor axe, nor fishing gear ; yet the 
children seemed to be in fairly good condition, " What 
do you have to eat ? " asked Grenfeli of one of the 
children, and received the unexpected and laconic 
reply, " Berries, zur." It is in such cases as this that 
Grenfeli acts the part of Providence. Several of the 
children were taken to the head-quarters of the 
Mission at St. Anthony, and the family helped to 
make another start in life. Without his assistance they 
would certainly have starved. This case may almost 
be said to be typical. Time and again some late- 
returning fishing schooner has reported that the people 
of such and such a settlement were without food for 
the winter, and the Government of Newfoundland has 
had to despatch a steamer with the necessary supplies. 
Cases of starvation have been recorded, and indeed 
deaths from chronic privation must have been common 

These settlers are so few in number and live so far 
apart, that they can afford each other but little mutual 
support. It is, however, a beautiful trait in their 
characters that they are always ready to share their 
scanty supplies with anyone who is worse off. 

The medical needs of this population were formerly 
supplied by a doctor who travelled up and down the 
coast on the mail steamer, making fortnightly trips 
during the summer months. This was naturally very 
ineffectual, and if people got seriously ill they just 

When accidents occurred, there was no one to bind 


the wound or set the limb. Terrible stories are told 
of the sufferings endured. As an instance, some years 
ago a little girl crawled out of a hut on a bitterly cold 
day, and was found by her father with both feet terribly 
frozen. Mortification set in, and the father saw that 
the child must die unless her feet were cut off. Laying 
the poor little creature down, he put her feet across a 
block of wood and chopped them off v/ith his axe. 
Grenfell found her still alive when he went down in the 
spring, and succeeded in restoring her to health. She 
was afterwards adopted by a charitable lady in the 
United States, and is now a strong and useful member 
of society. 

Some years ago the only practising surgeon on the 
Labrador was an Eskimo woman living at Hopedale. 
She enjoyed quite a reputation, and upon one occasion 
is said to have amputated the foot of a Newfoundland 
fisherman with expedition and success. It is a far cry 
from this old lady to the present well-equipped hospitals, 
skilful surgeons, and well-trained nurses, established by 
Dr. Grenfell. 

The transient population of Labrador is of two 
kinds, the " stationers," and the " floaters." The former 
go year after year to some one harbour where they have 
fishing stations, with houses of a sort, flakes for drying 
fish, and store-rooms. Here they fish all the summer, 
taking what fortune may come to them, drying their 
fish and shipping it direct to a market in southern 
Europe. Among these " stationers " there is some sort 
of family life, as whole families transport themselves 
thither for the summer, and generally pass a pleasant 
if rough and laborious season. 

The "floaters" comprise a fleet of, perhaps, looo 
schooners, from thirty to eighty tons, which have no 


fixed fishing station, but seek their spoil anywhere from 
the Straits of Belle Isle to Hudson's Strait. These 
vessels for the most part carry their cargoes back to 
Newfoundland in a " green " or uncured state. There 
the fish is washed out and dried, and becomes known 
to commerce as " shore-cured Labrador " fish. The fish 
shipped from the coast is called " soft-cured Labrador." 

Formerly the cod were taken by hook and line, but 
about thirty-five years ago the fish trap was invented 
by the late Mr. W. H. Whiteley, whose sons still carry 
on a large business at Bonne Esperance on the Canadian 
Labrador. The cod trap is a huge box of nets which 
is lowered into the water and securely moored. " Leaders " 
stretch out in several directions to conduct the school- 
ing fish into the trap, from which they cannot find their 
way out. By its means large catches are often made 
in a very short time, but often, also, it is drawn blank. 
It is a lazy method of fishing. The fishermen sit upon 
the rocks and wait for the fish to run into the trap, 
which may or may not happen, while generally a catch 
would be ensured if the old hook and line method of 
fishing were tried, or better still, trawl-fishing on the off- 
shore grounds. 

There is no one especially deputed to look after the in- 
terests of these poor people. Labrador is not represented 
in Parliament. There are but few clergymen and school 
teachers, and no magistrates nor police on the coast. 
They were an inarticulate people when Dr. Grenfell 
came to their rescue. 

Wilfred Thomasin Grenfell was born at Mostyn House 
School, near Chester, on February 25th, 1865, of which 
school his father was, and his brother now is, the pro- 
prietor and head master. When he became old enough 
for a public school he was sent to Marlborough, where 



Facing p. 45S 


he remained three years. He then matriculated at the 
London University and began the study of medicine at 
the London Hospital. 

Sir Frederick Treves was then surgeon-in-chief, and 
Sir Andrew Clark lecturer on the medical side, so Grenfell 
had a great opportunity to acquire all that was best in 
the medical science of that day. 

The warm friendship then formed between Sir Fred- 
erick Treves and his brilliant young pupil has continued 
uninterrupted to the present day. 

After taking his degree he entered Oxford ; but not 
finding the quiet waters of scholastic life congenial, he 
left after two terms to embark upon the real and troubled 
waters of the North Sea as a Medical Missionary of the 
Deep Sea Mission. In this capacity he did splendid 
work for some years, fitting himself unwittingly for the 
new and more important field in which Providence 
designed that he should labour. 

Here he gained that knowledge of the sea without 
which he would have been quite unable to take up the 
Labrador work. He soon was able to take a master's 
certificate, and has since pursued the higher study of 
nautical science, even to the making of charts and 
accurate surveying. 

Grenfell has lost no opportunity of adding to his 
professional knowledge, and has kept himself an fait 
with all that is new and important in surgery and 
medicine. His experience and ability would ensure 
him an enormous practice and a fortune were he to 
begin work in any of the world's great centres. 

But the all-pervading characteristic of Grenfell is his 
religion. When a student in London he happened to 
attend a revival meeting held by the late Dwight Moody, 
and became aroused to a new sense of religious responsi- 


bility. The effect upon himself he thus describes: — 
" As I left I came to the conclusion that my religious 
life was a humbug. I vowed in future that I would 
either give it up or make it reaW That vow has been 
well kept. His life has been devoted to practical 
Christianity. Dr. Henry Van Dyke, speaking of him, 
says : " I regard the work that Dr. Grenfell is doing 
in Labrador as one of the most simple, direct, and vital 
applications of the Gospel of Christ to human needs that 
modern times have seen." 

Without cant, without bigotry, without animosity 
— although sorely tried by suspicions and accusations — 
he has endeavoured to do everything to the glory of 
God. He is firmly convinced that the Saviour is ever 
present in a real, almost tangible sense, and that the 
holy presence has been made manifest to him on many 
occasions. He is almost Oriental in his fatalism, and 
yet his is the faith that can remove mountains. This 
seeming paradox is easily understood when it is explained 
that his fatalism is for himself, his faith for his Vt'ork. He 
believes that he has a work to perform, and that he will 
be permitted to continue it so long as he is useful and 
necessary, therefore it does not matter what risks he runs 
nor what chances he takes. The extraordinary accident 
which happened to him about a year ago, and his more 
miraculous escape, have doubtless confirmed him in this 
belief Travelling with his dog team across a frozen bay 
he suddenly found himself in "sish" ice — that is, ice which 
had been ground up by the action of the sea but had not 
melted nor yet solidified. It was like a quick-sand ; he 
could not swim in it, and it would not bear his weight. 
After great efforts he managed to get one of his dogs 
on to a pan of ice, and hauling himself along by the 
dog's trace he also succeeded in getting upon it. It 


was barely large enough to hold him and his dogs, and 
was so fragile that it was in danger of going to pieces at 
any minute. He now discovered that all the ice was 
moving out of the bay, and soon he and his dogs were 
at sea. To prevent himself being frozen to death he 
was obliged to kill three of his beloved dogs, and to wrap 
himself in their skins. Huddled close to the others he 
managed to survive the bitter cold night. Lashing the 
leg bones of the dogs together he made a staff upon 
which he tied his shirt, and standing up at intervals he 
waved this flag, probably the most curious ever con- 
structed. Fortunately he had not long to endure this 
terrible exposure and privation. It chanced that several 
men had gone from their winter houses out to the sea 
coast on the afternoon of the accident, — an unusual 
occurrence with them, — and as they were turning to go 
home one of them spied something peculiar on the ice, 
too far away to be made out. After debating about it, 
they concluded that it was a matter which must be 
investigated. But they had no boat, and it was too late 
to do anything that evening. They accordingly travelled 
to the next settlement to the southward, knowing that 
the ice would drift with the current in that direction. In 
the morning they sighted the strange object several 
miles to sea, and rowing off were enabled, by God's 
mercy, to rescue their beloved Dr. Grenfell. 

When they got him in their boat, these grown men, 
hardened by the many tragic circumstances incident to 
their lives, broke down and wept like little children. 

After this experience one cannot be surprised if 
Grenfell is confirmed in his fatalism. 

But, for his work, nothing is impossible. The future 
can be swayed at will. 

His latest undertaking has been to assume the man- 


agement of the Seamen's Home in St. John's. To 
extend it, and make it attractive and comfortable, 
about seventy-five thousand dollars were required. 
" How can you possibly get it ? " I asked in December 
last, thinking it impossible that the sum could be 
raised. " I shall get it," he replied. " I don't know how, 
but it is wanted, and it will be forthcoming." Within 
four months he wrote me that the full amount had 
been obtained as the result of an extended lecture 
tour through Canada and the United States. 

Thus it has been with his work from the beginning. 
So soon as the need was apparent, hospitals, ships, 
launches, doctors, nurses, teachers, assistants of every 
kind have been forthcoming. 

He is himself a member of the Church of England, 
but all shades of belief are alike to him. What a man 
thinks is nothing ; what he does is the only thing of 
importance. Consequently, in his band of helpers are 
to be found representatives from diverse churches, all 
united by the watchword "service." 

He told me once that his favourite passage in the 
Bible was the following beautiful verse from Micah, 
chapter VI : — 

Wherewith shall I come before the Lord 

And bow myself before the high God ? 

Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, 

With calves of a year old ? 

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams 

Or with ten thousand rivers of oil ? 

Shall I give my firstborn 

For my transgression, 

The fruit of my body 

For the sin of my soul ? 

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good, 

And what doth the Lord require of thee 

But to do justly and to love mercy 

And to walk humbly with thy God ? 


And as I consider it, I am impressed with the behef 
that Grenfell has made it the precept upon which he 
has modelled his life. 

His work has been truly apostolic, — to heal the sick, 
to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry, to teach the 
ignorant, to protect the fatherless. What a privilege ! 

In case that any one should picture him as one of 
the canting, sad type of Christian, let me add that he 
is one of the most cheery souls in the world, loving a 
joke, devoted to outdoor games, (he won his Blue at 
Oxford), and is an ardent sportsman. 

He has been pitied for the hardships he undergoes, 
and eulogized for his self-denial, but I doubt if he 
would change his lot for that of any man alive. He 
loves his work, — it is the breath of his nostrils, the 
passion of his life. From this proceeds one of his 
few weaknesses. He is so absorbed in his own work 
that he is somewhat unsympathetic towards other aims 
and aspirations, and shows it with the charming in- 
souciance of a child. But it is an amiable weakness, 
after all. 

Having now reviewed the labourer, and the work in 
this "land of the labourer," let me record what has 

When Grenfell returned from his first voyage to 
Labrador, a meeting of the prominent men of St. 
John's was called to hear his report. All were greatly 
impressed, and resolutions were at once passed en- 
dorsing his work and undertaking to support it. After 
some correspondence, it was decided to build two 
hospitals in Labrador, — one at Battle Harbour, and the 
other at Indian Harbour, — which Dr. Grenfell, on behalf 
of the Deep Sea Mission, undertook to keep open 
during the summer months. 


A house at Battle Harbour v/as given by Mr. W, B. 
Grieve to be adapted as a hospital, and a small hospital 
was soon erected at Indian Harbour. 

From this humble beginning a widespread humani- 
tarian scheme has been developed by Dr. Grenfell, 
which is one of the most remarkable and useful to be 
found in the world. 

Perhaps the best way to convey an idea of this great 
work is to state categorically what has been accom- 
plished year by year. The basis of the following re- 
cord is taken from Grenfell of Labrador, by James 
Johnston, 1908: — 

1892. Dr. Grenfell paid his first visit to Newfoundland 
and Labrador in the hospital ship Albet'i, a lugger-rigged 
vessel of 90 tons. He spent three months on the 
coast, holding services and treating nine hundred sick 

1893. Battle Harbour Hospital opened during the 
summer with a qualified doctor and nurse. The launch 
Princess May purchased to assist in the work of the 
Mission. Indian Harbour Hospital built. 

1894. Indian Harbour Hospital opened for the 
summer, and Battle Harbour Hospital kept open all 
winter. Friends in Canada and the States began to 
assist the Mission. 

1895. The sailing hospital ship Albert replaced by the 
small steamer Sir Donald, the gift of Lord Strathcona. 
1900 sick people receive treatment. Dr. Roddick, a 
Newfoundlander, practising in Montreal, presented the 
sailing boat, Urelia McKinnon, to the Mission. 

1896. A small co-operative store started at Red Bay, 
Labrador, in the Straits of Belle Isle. The Sir Donald 
frozen up in the harbour ice at Battle Harbour, carried 
away to sea when the ice drove out, found at sea by a 



ss. "strathcona" at work 

Facing p. 464 


sealing steamer, and brought to St, John's, but had to 
be sold. 

1897. The steam launch /z^/Z^t: Sheridan given to the 
Mission by aToronto lady. A largeMission Hallattached 
to Indian Harbour Hospital, where largely-attended 
services are held. Two thousand patients treated. 

1898. Dr. Grenfell spent on other work of the 

1899. Largely through the munificence of Lord 
Strathcona, the steel steam hospital ship Siraihcona, was 
built at Dartmouth, England, and fitted with every 
available modern appliance. A doctor wintered at 
St. Anthony, north Newfoundland. 

1900. The Strathcona put into commission. The 
settlers at St. Anthony began the erection of a hospital, 
and the Mission decided to adopt the place as a third 
station. It is now the head-quarters of the Mission. 

1 90 1. The Newfoundland Government granted ;^300 
towards the erection and equipment of St. Anthony 
Hospital. A small co-operative lumber mill started to 
afford employment during the winter months. The 
schooner Co-operator built at St. Anthony. Co-operative 
store opened at St. Anthony. 

1902. A new wing added to the Battle Harbour 
Hospital with a fine convalescing room and a well 
equipped operating room. Indian Harbour Hospital 
also enlarged. 2774 patients treated^ no being in- 
patients at the Hospitals. 

1903. Nevv outbuildings added to Indian Harbour 
Hospital, and a mortuary and a store built at Battle 
Harbour. Co-operative stores opened at West St. 
Modeste and at Flower's Cove. 

1904. A doctor's house built at Battle Harbour. A 
new launch purchased to replace the Julia Sheridan. 

2 H 


An orphanage built at St. Anthony's ; also a building 
in which to teach weaving, carpentering, etc. 

1905. A doctor stationed at Harrington on the 
Canadian Labrador. Schooners built at St. Anthony. 
Two surgeons from Boston assisted the Mission work 
voluntarily during the summer. Portable libraries 
presented by Mr. Andrew Carnegie. 

1906. Hospital built at Harrington by Canadian 
supporters of the Mission, and a launch given to the 
work there. New buildings erected at St. Anthony. 

1907. A herd of 300 domesticated reindeer imported 
from Lapland and safely landed at St. Anthony with 
their Lap herders. A nursing home and station built at 

1908. Negotiations completed for taking over the 
Fishermen and Seamen's Home in St. John's, a building 
which had cost about 5^30,000 subscribed by the people 
of St. John's. 

1909. The sum of $65,000 raised by Dr. Grenfell 
in the States and Canada, and about $8000 contributed 
in St. John's for the enlargement and equipment, work 
on which is to be commenced immediately. The Hospital 
and Orphanage at St. Anthony doubled in size, and a 
new motor yawl given by Princeton University. 

The money for all these undertakings has been for the 
most part contributed by generous friends in the States 
and Canada, whose interest in the work has been 
aroused by Grenfell's lecturing tours. The Govern- 
ment of Newfoundland contributes I500 per annum 
to each Hospital, and $3000 to $4000 in addition is 
given annually by friends in Newfoundland. 

The above may be called the concrete results of Gren- 
fell's seventeen years' work ; the spiritual, economical, 
and educational results cannot be so easily appraised. 


A Hospital is the outward and visible sign of help 
given to thousands of sick and injured people, although 
they themselves may not be at hand to testify, but to 
the value of Grenfell's teaching there is nothing to bear 

Early and late, at all times and seasons, he has en- 
deavoured to inculcate the tenets of simple practical 
Christianity, and the example he has set has been itself 
his most valuable lesson. We can rest assured that his 
teaching has not been wasted, although no evidence can 
can be produced to prove it. I once attended a lecture 
given by him in a well-known church in New York. 
The building was crowded with a cosmopolitan gather- 
ing, representing many different nationalities and classes, 
all attracted by the fame of the lecturer and his philan- 
throphic enterprises. " So shines a good deed in this 
naughty world." Grenfell's story was simply and un- 
affectedly told, with humorous and pathetic anecdotes 
interspersed, and although it was an old story to me, I 
listened again with deep interest, — an interest unmistak- 
ably shared by all present, and practically demonstrated 
by the handsome collection which was taken up at the end 
of the lecture. I had previously thought how generous 
were the people of the United States in supporting a 
Mission which had really so little claim upon them ; but 
now, after seeing and hearing, I came to the conclusion 
that they were getting good value for their money ; it 
was a privilege to them to be allowed to help, and the 
lesson they received should be as valuable to them as 
the practical results to the people of Labrador, It 
was " twice blessed " indeed. 

It is equally hard to say what the economic results of 
Grenfell's work may prove to be. It must be remem- 
bered that from 1894 until last year there was a 


continual and most marked improvement in the con- 
dition of all dependent upon the fisheries in New- 
foundland. In some unexplainable way, Newfoundland 
seemed to share in the general prosperity of the world. 
The people became comparatively well-to-do, and were 
able to save large sums of money, as evidenced by the 
deposits in the savings and other banks. This great 
apparent access of prosperity cannot be attributed to 
any of the measures instituted by Grenfell. It was 
general throughout Newfoundland, and more noticeable 
in other parts than in Labrador. This is not to say that 
Grenfell's work on these lines has been of no benefit. Far 
from it. His attention has been directed to the assist- 
ance of the submerged. To them he has brought help, 
without which they must have gone under in the fight 
for existence. His endeavour has been always to avoid 
pauperizing those whom he assists, and therefore he has 
required that some work, or service of some kind, shall 
be given in return. In many cases the benefit has been 
permanent, in others the withdrawal of help would 
mean a relapse into poverty. 

A great deal has been said and written about the 
supplying system. It is certain that the system is evil, 
equally bad for both supplier and supplied. On the 
one hand it leads to rapacity and extortion, and on 
the other to dishonesty and robbery. But a wrong aspect 
has been given to this unhapp}^ business by the great 
majority of modern writers. The supplying merchant 
has been pictured as a voracious octopus, endeavouring 
to get the unhappy fishermen into his toils. This is far 
from being the correct view of the situation. It is 
impossible to carry on such an uncertain business 
as the fishery without a large amount of credit being 
given ; but in the usual course the pressure comes from 




Facing p. 468 


below. The merchant does not hunt out the fisherman 
and force supplies upon him ; it is the fisherman who is 
ever on the look-out for the merchant who will give him 
the most supplies. If he is a hand-line fisherman with 
a punt he looks for somebody to give him a trap on 
credit ; then it is his ambition to get a schooner, and 
so on. Even if he has money saved, he objects to using 
it to purchase supplies. That is kept for a rainy day ; 
the merchant must run all the risk. 

For many years the Labrador business was looked 
upon as the most risky in the whole trade of the 
country, and many merchants refused to supply for it 
at all. But in recent years high prices have encouraged 
a considerable expansion. Last year, however, the fish 
markets were over-supplied and prices fell, so that it 
has again become very unremunerative to supply for 
the Labrador, and the outfit is likely to be reduced this 

It is Grenfell's idea that the evils of the supplying 
system can be overcome to some extent by Co-operative 
Associations, but the value of these associations cannot 
yet be said to be proven. One of them has been very 
successful, others have maintained a rather arduous exist- 
ence, and one has been closed in a state of insolvency. 
With a result so indeterminate, in years when the 
general business of the country has been so wonderfully 
successful, it does not seem likely that they will be able 
to withstand a series of bad years. A large capital is 
necessary to carry on the very uncertain fishery business 
of Newfoundland. While, therefore, these small co- 
operative stores may have a temporary success, they 
are not sufficientl}^ provided with capital to carry them 
through a long era of adversity. Their value is never- 
theless very great. They promote independence, self- 


reliance, and imperative honesty— lessons which are 
badly wanted among the Newfoundland fishing popu- 
lation. For these reasons, if for no others, one would 
like to see them increase and multiply. 

The success of Grenfell's other great economJcal 
venture, the introduction of domesticated reindeer, has 
still to be demonstrated. The idea was not new. The 
prophetic and optimistic " Laire, Pretre," in the days of 
Courtemanche, and that frank Philistine George Cart- 
wright, in the latter eighteenth century, both advocated 
the domestication of the caribou or native reindeer, 
pointing out how valuable the same animals were to 
the Laplanders. It remained for Grenfell, however, 
to make the experiment, not by taming the native 
beast, but by importing a herd already domesticated 
from Lapland, From the accounts of recent travellers 
one gathers that the Laps themselves are a decadent 
race, and that the possession of reindeer does not in 
itself constitute prosperity. There can be no question, 
however, that a herd of reindeer would add enormously 
to the comfort, health, and wealth of a Labrador family. 
But the problem how to combine successfully fishing and 
reindeer herding has yet to be solved. Time only can 
tell, but the experiment was worth trying and promises 
well. The original herd of 280 has increased to 600 in 
eighteen months. 

In addition to the offices of preacher, teacher, healer, 
and general provider, Grenfell is practically " lord-high- 
everything-else " in Labrador. He is a magistrate of 
the coast, but the duties he is called upon to perform 
are happily not onerous. When it is remembered 
that the Circuit Court for Labrador went out of 
existence a generation ago for lack of business, and 
that it has not been found necessary to have even a 

l_J-i i % i S 


policeman stationed there, it will be concluded that the 
inhabitants of Labrador are not a vicious people. 
Quarrels about trap berths form the bulk of the cases 
brought before Grenfell, to be settled by him with ready 

As the Labrador coast with its many archipelagos 
can afford room to very many more fishermen than 
now frequent it, one would suppose that there was 
no necessity for quarrels on that score. It appears, 
however, that disputes often arise. There are no grants 
or vested fishing rights on the Labrador coast. It is a 
case of " first come, first served," and it often happens 
that the stationary crews on their arrival at their 
customary posts find that the best trap berths in 
their vicinity, which they had been in the habit of using, 
have been taken possession of by a " floater." This 
naturally causes bad blood. Grenfell's part in these 
" cases " is rather that of peacemaker than law-giver. 

No licences for the sale of liquor are issued for 
Labrador, and the liquor traffic is therefore illegal. 
Grenfell's position as magistrate enables him to see 
that the law is not evaded, and eagerly he hunts out 
every offender. Such is his assiduity that a fisher- 
man was heard to remark that soon there would not be 
a bottle left on Labrador, much less anything in it to 

There is consequently a great and marked change 
for the better in this respect, from the days when 
brandy was kept on tap in the rooms of the Jersey firms 
in the straits. 

As agent for Lloyds for the coast of Labrador, 
Grenfell has been enabled to bring to justice several 
notable offenders. The crime of " barratry " had been 
all too lightly regarded, and the distant, lonely 


Labrador has been the scene of many offences of this 
sort. Now, however, Grenfell in his little steamer is 
apt to turn up in all sorts of out-of-the-way places at 
inopportune times, and a wholesome restraint is exercised 
upon would-be criminals. 

Grenfell once summarized his own labours on the 
Labrador in a sort of " reverie upon his good ship, 
the Strathconar It has already been used by his 
biographers, but must needs be repeated. It will be 
recognized as a fine piece of v/riting, and impresses one 
with the genuineness of the author : — 

" I could see again as I looked at her the thousands 
of miles of coast she had carried us along, the record 
of over a thousand folk that had sought and found help 
aboard her this summer, the score of poor souls for 
whom we could do nothing but carry them, sheltered in 
her snug cabin, to the larger hospitals, where they could 
be better attended to than by us at sea. I remembered 
visitors and helpers whom she had faithfully carried, 
and who were now scattered where they could tell of 
the needs of our folk, and bring them better help in 
years to come. I remembered the ministers and 
travellers that had been lent a hand as they pushed 
their way up and down our coast, — the women and 
children and aged persons that she had carried up the 
long bays to their winter home, and to whom she had 
saved the suffering of the long exposure in small and 
open boats. One remembered the libraries she had 
distributed all along this bookless line of coast, the 
children picked up and carried to the shelter of the 
Orphanage, the caches of food for men and dogs, 
placed at known rendezvous along the line of water 
travel, making the long dog journeys possible. How 
often had her now boarded-up windows lighted up her 



Facing p. 472 


cabins for a floating Court of Justice in lonely places 
where, even if the judgments arrived at had been rather 
more equitable than legal, yet disputes had been ended, 
vi^rong-doing punished, and the weak had been time and 
again helped to get right done them." 

Grenfell's work is widely known and highly appre- 
ciated in the United States and Canada. In England 
His Majesty the King has personally decorated him 
with the Order of Companion of St. Michael and 
St. George, and at Oxford the faculty has bestov/ed 
upon him the only Honorary Degree of Doctor of 
Medicine ever awarded by that conservative institution. 
Harvard also has vied with the English University by 
making him an LL.D. 

There has been a somewhat natural feeling of shame, 
accompanied by resentment, that the fisher folk of 
Labrador and Newfoundland should be held up to the 
outside world as in need of charitable assistance. It 
has, however, been the comfortable and well fed who 
have assumed this attitude, and we have yet to learn 
that those in need have rejected the proffered assistance. 
It is so easy to be proud and independent when one's 
own " withers are unwrung." 

But all opposition is being rapidly shamed into 
silence by the obviously splendid work which is being 

The funds required for this important charitable 
organization have been provided chiefly by generous 
friends in the United States and Canada. In New 
York, Boston, Baltimore, Toronto, and other centres 
those interested have formed themselves into societies, 
which they call Grenfell Associations, employing 
secretaries to attend to the collection of funds, and 
to further the interests of the charity. Grenfell hopes 


by this means to ensure its permanency, recognizing 
that without regular organization, his death or removal 
would probably cause the whole edifice to fall to the 
ground. Such an end to the structure, so carefully and 
painfully built by him, would be a terrible calamity to 
the inhabitants of this outpost of empire. Extraneous 
material help seldom has had any permanent result, 
but the spiritual and educational "uplift" which 
Grenfell has imparted to the fisher folk of Labrador, 
must in course of time cause a striking advance in 
their condition, and a consequent development of the 
natural facilities of the country. 



































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22,125 Seals. 
7350 ,, 
2260 ,, 
1600 ,, (?). 

^Chimney Tickle, 30 tierces, 
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\ Sandwich Bay, 1450 ,, 
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FOR SEASONS 1906-1908. 

Salmon . 
Cod Oil . 
Seal Oil . 
Seal Skins 
Herring . 
Dried Caplin 
Whale Bone 
Lumber . 



250,887 qtls. 




,493 qtls. 


874 tees. 


715 tcs. I 



53 brls. 


121 brls. 


28 tuns 


7^ tuns 


20:^ ,, 


6.^ „ 


. 163 „ 




10^ brls. 


28 brls. 


35 .> 


I brl. 


325 lbs. 



233 lbs. 




320 tons 





,451 feet 




Si, 093, 742 

Dry Codfish 
Cod Oil . 
Seal Oil . 
Herring . 
Feathers . 
Whale Bone 


288, 836^ qtls. 

357 tcs. and 152 brls. 

90 brls. 

7 tuns 

19 tuns 

7 barrels 

496 lbs. 

185 tons 

1,734,414 feet 














FOR THE YEARS 1885, 1895, 1905. 

From "An Official to the Labrador," by Sir William MacGregor, G.c m.g. 













2689 qtls. 


2Q94 qtls. 


4035 qtls. 



579 brls. 


787 brls. 


798 brls. 


Skin Boots 

632 pairs 


230 prs. 


3224 prs. 


Seal Oil . 

313 cks. 


194 cks. 


353 P"s. 


Cod Oil . 

3 ,, 


3 „ 


41 ,, 


Cod Liver Oil 

7 ,, 


6 ,, 


3 ,, 



16 ,, 


6 pgs. 


II pgs. 


Dry Seal Skins 

13 ,, 



5 ,, 


Salted Seal Skir 

IS 14 „ 


8 pgs. 


7 ,, 


Reindeer Skins 

36 Pgs. 


72 „ 


5 ,, 


Straw Work & C 

urios — 


2 ,, 


IS ,. 


P'eathers . 

. — 


4 ,, 


12 ,, 


Salmon . 

37 tcs. 


5 tcs. 


6 tcs. 


Totals .... 






The Government of Newfoundland permits the Moravian ihetliren to import all goods free 
of duty. Notwithstanding this assistance a co.isiderable sum of money has to be subscribed 
each year for the support of the Mission. 


Abraham, Eskimo exhibited in 
Europe, letter from, on 
his experiences, 310-1 

Act of 1S09, retransfer by, of 
Labrador to Newfound- 
land, exception in, 440 

Acts of Navigation, pessimistic 
note in, 98-9 

Adam of Bremen, on Norse voyages 
to America, 5, 6 

Adams, Sir Thomas, Bt,, R.N. 

Surrogate, 204, area of 

his jurisdiction, 221 

Haven taken to Chateau by, 261 

Helpof,in building York Fort, 191 

Adininistj-ation of the Royal Navy 
by Oppenheim, cited on 
superiority of English 
over Spanish seamen, 

Admiralty instructions to Palliser 
on fishing by Ameri- 
cans, 330 

Adonis, H.M.S. , American vessels 
detained by, reason of 
this, 342 

Africa, discovery of, by Leif the 
Lucky, 1 2th century MS. 
Geography on, 6 

Agramont, Jaun de, letters patent 
granted to, for ex- 
ploration in " Terra 
Neuve," 36 

Aillik, Hudson Bay Co.'s sta- 
tion at, Chimmo's visit 
to, 414 

Alarm, H.M.S., 409 

Alaska, Eskimo language in, 157 

^/^^;-^', Mission ShipofR.M.D.SF., 
Grenfell sent in, to 
Labrador, 454, 464 

? I '■ 

Alcohol : — 

Sale of, by Americans on Labra- 
dor, 354 
to Eskimos, by fishers, 272 
prohibited in Newfound- 
land, 313 
prohibited by Palliser, 173 
illegal in Labrador, present 
day, Grenfell's vigi- 
lance, 471 
Smuggling of, by Americans, off 

Newfoundland, 375 
Supplied by TJe Quettville & Co. 
to their employees, 411 
to natives of Labrador by 
fishers and traders, 304 
by Hudson Bay Co., 301 
Treated as a necessary (Palliser's 
day), 184 
Alexander VL, Pope, delimita- 
tion by, of Spanish and 
Portuguese spheres {^see 
also Treaty of Torde- 
sillas), 59 
on the abandonment of Green- 
land, 4 
Algeria, Eskimos exhibited in, 312 
Algonquin language, meaning in, 

of " Eskimo," 156 
Alicante, Newfoundland fish-trade 

with, 335 
All Saints (Tous Saints), 70 
Alphonse, Jehan, and the Isles de la 
Demoiselle, 92 
Silent as to Eskimos, 162 
Silent as to Brest, Labrador, 
America, sa also Boston, Massa- 
chusetts, New England, 
&c., and United States 


America {contd. ) : — 

British naval desertions to 
(1766), Palliser on, 183 

Cartographical evolution of, 
Harrisse the chief 
authority on, 26 

Coast of, fishers of three nations 
on, 72 
claim by, to forty-mile area 
round, 354 

Colonies, North-East, for a 

time included in term 

Newfoundland, 31, 33 

revolt of, 244, Quebec Act as 

contributory cause, 439 

Colonization in, Elizabeth's 
letters patent for, granted 
to Sir H. Gilbert, 108 

Continent of, area claimed 
by England in virtue 
of Cabot's discoveries, 
Monson's view, 116 
first land on, actually pos- 
sessed by England, 112 
French and Spanish colonies 

va.{d>x. 1583), 113 
John Cabot first European 

to set foot on, 25 
Norse voyages to, writers for 
and against, i, 2 

Discovery of, earliest references 
to, in English litera- 
ture, 44-6 

Eskimos exhibited in, results, 
3", 312 

and Great Britain, telegraph 
route between, McClin- 
tock's survey for (i860), 

Map first so designating, 62-3 

North, Indians of, feuds of, with 

Eskimos, 165-7 

range in, of Eskimos, 17,18, 156 

Puritans' request for permission 
to go to (1618), 317 

trade between, and British 
colonies forbidden, 366, 
«.i, 340, 341, 344 
Western, Labrador herring sold 

in, 426 
Why so called, The Neive Inter- 
lude on, 46 

American(s) alleged complicity of, 
in piracy of the Maria 
(1821), 371-2 
Fishers in British waters : — 

Admiralty instructions on, to 
Palliser, 330 

at Blanc Sablon (1863), objec- 
tion of, to duties, 419 

conduct of, complaints of, from 
British North America, 
339, 342-3, 346, 352-3, 
354, 355, 362 et seq., 
371, 375, 390, 405 . 

drying and curing stations 
hired by, on Labrador, 

rights as to, under Treaty 
of Paris, 334, 336, 337, 

.358, 367 
exclusion of, from British 
waters, plea for, from 
merchants of St. John's 
(i8i3),345 etseq.,Y^&2Xi, 
letters supporting, 350, 

351, 352-5 
geographical and climatic ad- 
vantages of, 352, 353, 

374, «• I 
in halibut fishery, 424 
injury by, to fishery from 
throwing offal over- 
board, 352,371 
local laws binding on, by 
Treaty of 1S18., 366, 
367, admitted by U.S. 
authorities, 367, 368-9, 
instructions to Fishery 
Protection Service re, 

367, 397 
long absent from bays and 
harbours of Newfound- 
land, reasons for this, 365 
Fishers and fishery in Brit- 
ish waters before war 
of 1812, and view 
then taken of their 
rights under Treaty of 
Paris, Kemp's evidence 
on, 359 
growth of, effect on New- 
foundland, numbers of 
vessels in, 339 



American(s) {contd. ) : — 

Fishers and fishery in British 
waters {coutd. ) : — 
off Labrador, after war of 18 12, 
position taken byand ac- 
corded to, year by year 
and numbers engaged 
1815., 356-7 
1816., 357-8 

1817., 358 

1818., 361, 362-4, 365 

1819., 371 

1820., 371 

1821., 371 

1822., 372 

1823., 372 

1829., 374 

i833-» 376 

1840., 374-5 

1852., 375, 410, see also 

Chapter XVI. 
privileges temporarily re- 
newed (1816, 1817), 
358, 361 
protests against, from New- 
foundland and Nova 
Scotia, 361-4 
restored to some extent by 
Treaty of 1818., 365, 
rapid decline, 405, 412, 
Goode's explanation, 
termination (1869), 420 
at the Magdalens, 336 

drying and curing by, 

on Newfoundland Banks, num- 
bers of, 330, 331, 335, 
337, 339- .343> 352, 357 

purchase of British fish by, 
forbidden, 342, 344>.353 

resistance by, to law prohibit- 
ing seines for herring 
(1862), 412-3 _ 

trespassing in occupied bays, 
&c. (1818), some seized, 
361 & n.i 
Fishing Privileges and Rights in 
British waters ; 

abandonment of foretold, 426 
d; n. I 

American(s) {contd.) : — 

Fishing Privileges and Rights in 
British waters {contd. ) : — 

bearing on, of Palliser's letter to 
Bernard, and rules for 
the Whale fishery, 327 

not mentioned in Treaty of 
Ghent (1814), 356 

under Treaty of 1818., 357, 
365-6, 374, meaning of 
words concerning, 366, 
principal British claims, 

under Treaty of Paris, 338, 
339> 356, 368 

under Treaty of Reciprocity 

(1854), 378 
in the open seas, under Treaty 

of Paris, 333, 334. 339 
Passport to Moravian ships 

granted, text of, 275-6 
Privateer(s), capture by, alleged, 

of York Fort, 191, 192 
menace of, to Labrador, 244, 

made good by Grimes, 

244-5, ^rid others, 246-7 
off Newfoundland, captures of, 

Seaboard, theory of distribution 
along of Eskimo, why 
untenable, 17-8 
Shipmasters, offences of, at Cod 

Roy, 328 
Trading with Eskimos of Labra- 
dor (1798), 335, 336^- «.i 
Vessel(s), first to sail for Labra- 
dor, 152, 153) Sabine's 
error as to, 328 
first account of, by Sir 

F. Bernard, 320-6 
fishing, arrival of first at Hope- 
dale, 291 
total numbers, Labrador and 
Newfoundland (1767), 
330, 331(1808), 344 
at Magdalens, 337, opera- 
tions of, effect on Sea- 
Cow fishery, 338, n.\ 
rights discussed, 337-8 
trading, arrival of first 
at Hopedale, result to 
Eskimos, 413 



American War, Newfoundland's 
prosperity during, 358 
Whalers, Cod fishery forbidden 
to, by Palliser, permis- 
sions to, restrictions on, 
and complaints of, by 
him, 214-5, 218 et seq., 
327, 329, Keats on, 
fights with Eskimos, Palliser's 
complaints, 175, 201,255 
visits of, to Labrador, undesir- 
able characters on, 303 

American and British fishers, trouble 
between (1820), 371 
(182 0, //-., (1877), 378 

American and French disputes on 
fishing rights in New- 
foundland waters {czrc. 
1823), 373, Hamilton's 
comments, 373 

American and Nova Scotian ag- 
gression in Sandwich 
Bay (1816, 1819, 1820), 
upshot of, 391-4 

American Indian languages, con- 
struction of, similarity 
to, of Eskimo, and 
Basque, 158 

Amherst, Colonel, and the retaking 
of St. John's, 198 

Amherst Harbour, Magdalen Isles, 
Americans at, 337, 338 

Amitok Island, arrival at of Haven 
and his companions, 
Ruins of houses on, non- 
Eskimo, 12 

Amity, Moravian vessel, 268, 269, 
275, 276 

Amundsen, Captain Roald first to 
discover North - West 
Passage, 168 
on Stone ruins at Boothia Felix, 

15, <£•?«. I 
on Uncivilized Eskimo, 168 

Anacal river, in Combes' letter, 86 

Anchor Ice, 226 

Angekoks, or sorcerers, Eskimo, 283 

Anglo-Azorean expedition to the 
New Lands (1501), 29, 
47 et seq. ,60, 71 

Angos, 70 

Animal life at Cape Cod, Atkins 
cited on, 325 
of Labrador, 131, Davis on, 
Moravian references {see 
also tinder names of 
creatures), 280-1 et seq. 
unexplained phenomena con- 
cerning, 302 
of Newfoundland, in Cabot's 
time, 40 

Animals found in Vinland, 8 

Annales Regit of Iceland, on 
Bishop Eric's search for 
Vinland, 2 

Anse Sablon, 399, coast west 
of line from, north 
and south, re-annexed 
to Lower Canada 
(1825), 441 

Anspach, on Superintendent of 
Trade, on Labrador, 

Anticosti Island, 193 
Eskimos at (1702), 166 
Fishery Regulations for, issued 
by Palliser (1765), 213 
et seq. 
Placed under Newfoundland rule 
by Treaty of Paris, 434, 
transferred again toNew- 
foundland, 440, and 
re -annexed to Lower 
Canada, 441 

Anfiquates Atnericana;, by Rafn, 
supporting Norse voy- 
ages to America, i 

Antwerp, Van Heere's portrait of 
an Eskimo at, 163 

Appendix: Exportsof Codfish, etc., 
for Newfoundland and 
Labrador, from 1766 to 
1908-9., 476-9 
Exports of Codfish, Salmon, Oil, 
etc., from Labrador, 
seasons 1906-8., 480 
Exports of the Moravian Church 
and Missionary Agency 
for Labrador for the 
years 1885, 1895, 1905., 



Appendix {contd.') : — 

Number of Vessels and Crews 
cleared at the Customs 
House, for Labrador, 
1 894- 1908., 475 

Archivos dos Ai^ores, by E. de 
Canto, cited on the 
meaning of the word 
" lavrador," 54 

Arctic Current, effect on J. Cabot's 
course, 28 

Arctic Expeditions {see also North- 
West Passage), Mc- 
Lure's, 157 
S. Cabot's, authorities on, 43 

Arctic foxes, 8 

Argillur (Clay), place name, 70 

Argo^ American whaler, 253 & n. i 

Ari, the Wise, historian of Iceland, 
on Norse voyages to 
America, 5, 6 

Arnold, first Bishop of Gardar, in 
Greenland, 3 

Arnold, Governor Benedict, wind- 
mill of, mistaken for 
Norse tower, i 

Ashehurst, Thomas, and partners, 
letters patent to, for ex- 
pedition and trade to 
Newfoundland, 39 

Ashmolean Museum, Dr. Dee's 
Diary in, 109 

Asia, Eastern parts of, location of 
the" Newlands" accord- 
ing to Cartier, 73 
Error as to, on Cantino map, 58 
Eskimos of, migrants from 
America, {58, Rink's 
theory, 158, 159 
"New lands" charted as part 
of, 62 

Atares province, Canada, mineral 
wealth of, and fierce 
inhabitants, Combeson, 

Atkins, Captain Henry, voyage of, 
to Davis' Straits (1729), 
Bernard on, 321-6, 


Indians met by, dealings between, 
321-3, his description of 
them, 324 

Atkins, Captain Henry {conta.): — 
System of nomenclature of, 324 

Atlantic Coast of Labrador, pre- 
dominant importance of, 
Newfoundland's rule of 
implying rule of hinter- 
land, 447 

Atlantic Ocean, American fishing 
rights in under Treaty 
of Paris, 3.^3, 334, after 
Treaty of Ghent, 356 
Basin of rivers of Labrador 
flowing into, claimed 
for Newfoundland rule 
(1767), 435, and as- 
signed thereto (1825), 
Islands in, probable basis of 

tradition of, 19 
Voyages into, instigated by John 
Cabot, 20 
Italian pioneers, 19 

Atmospheric phenomena observed 
by Moravians in La- 
brador (1797), 276-7 
(1836), 295-6 

Attikonak River, head waters of 
and Boundary line be- 
tween Canada and New- 
foundland on Labrador, 

Attuiock, Eskimo, taken to England 
by Cartwright, 234, tired 
by town, 236, horror at 
skeleton, 237, death, 240 

Audubon, ornithologist, on Ameri- 
can fishers on Labrador 

(1833), 376 

AuUak, Eskimo name for present- 
day Indians of Labra- 
dor, 13 

Aurora borealis, peculiar variety, 
Labrador (1799), 276-7 

A)'ala, Pedro de, surmise on 
Cabot's discoveries and 
the Spanish sphere, 57, 
on Cabot's second voy- 
age, 24 

Azoreans {see also Anglo-Azorean), 
joint expedition with 
Bristol men to New- 
foundland, 37 


Azores, the, 82 

Discoverers from, see Barcellos 

and Fernandez 
Home of Corte Real, 33 

Bacalaos, name as used on early 
maps, 31, 42 
Discovery by Caspar Corfe Real, 
mentioned on Kunst- 
man IV map, 64 
Inhabitants of. Combes on, 83-5, 
food of, Mattioli map on, 162 
Island near, 65 
Trees of. Combes on, 83-5 

Bacalieu, island, significance of the 
name, 71 

Bagot, Hon. Charles, British Am- 
bassador at Washing- 
ton, negotiations of, on 
American fishery ques- 
tion (1817), upshot 
of, 358 

Baie des Espagnols, now Bradore, 
other names of 132, 11. \ 

Baio de Caramello (Bay of Ice), 69 

Baio de Maluas, apparently in 
Straits of Belle Isle, 67 

Baio de Mallu (Bay of Mis- 
fortune), 70 

Baio de Manuel, 70 

Baio de Serra (Bay of Moun- 
tains), 70 

Baio du Baudeon, 70 

Baio du Brandon (Bay of Bran- 
don), 70 

Baio Oscura (Dark Bay), 70 

Baio du Prassel (Bay of the Little 
Pig), 70 

Bait for Cod, American and Labra- 
dor, difference in, 352 
Frozen herring as, 367 
Sale of, to French, by Newfound- 
landers, 421 

Bancroft, disbeliever in Norse 
voyages to America, i 

Banks off Labrador {see also 
Grand Banks), Ameri- 
can fishers on after 
Treaty of Ghent, 356 
off Hamilton Inlet, found by 
McClintock (i860), 

Ross on, 416 

Banks off Labrador {contd.) : — 
Fish of, of good size, 424 
Hinde's forecast concerning, 421 
Fishery on, decline in, 451 
Banks, Sir Joseph, friendship with 
Cook, result of, 199 
on Gridley's fishing lease of the 

Magdalen, 336 
on terror caused by Eskimos, 

on Whalebone c-ache found on 

Eskimo Island, 19S-6 
on York Fort, 190-1 

Bannerman, Sir Alexander, Gov- 
ernor of Newfound- 
land, proceedings men- 
aced against, by Labra- 
dor merchants (1863), 

Baptisms, Labrador, celebration of 
by laymen, 429-30 

Bargat River, 86 

Barratry on Labrador coast, Gren- 
fell's attitude to, and 
success, in punishing, 

Baskem, Cartwright's kindness 
to, 247 

Basque fishers at Port-au-Choix, 154 

in Southern Labrador, 118, 166 

Language, constructive affinity 

of, 158 
Whale-fishery, in the Straits of 
Belle Isle, 74, 132-3, 
ruined by Eskimo at- 
tacks, &c., 133 

Bastienne, nurse of the marooned 
Marguerite, 90, 91 

Batal Harbour, original name of 
Battle Harbour, mean- 
ing of, 167, 7M 

Bathurst, Earl, 397, Hamilton's 
letter to, on capture of 
trespassing American 
Whalers, 361, 71.1 
Instructions to Keats on Ameri- 
can fishing position 
after Treaty of Ghent, 
356, acted on by the 
latter, 357 
Instructions to Pickmore on Am- 
erican fishers, 357, 358 



Bathurst, Earl [conid.) : — 

Keats' letters to, supporting 
Memorial of St. John's 
Merchants, as to ex- 
clusion of French and 
Americans from British 
waters (i8i4),35o, 351, 


Memorial to, of the St. John s 
Chamber of Com- 
merce, 451 
Battle Harbour, American priva- 
teer at, 246 

Church of England mission in, 
started by Feild, 430 

Eskimo-Indian fight at, 1 67 cfc n. i 

Fishery at {1804-6), 3S9 

Name of, its derivation, 167, 
n. I 

Pilot for Northern Labrador not 
found at, by Chim- 
mo, 414 

R.M.D.S.F. Hospital at, 463, 
464, records of work at, 
year by year, 464-6 

Sealing posts at, 385 

Seals ashore in (1873), 4^1 
Battle Harbour to Red Island 
population between, and 
catch of fish, estimated 
by Hood (1863), 413-4 
Bay of Brandon (Baio du Bran- 
don), 70 
Bay of Bulls, Newfoundland, 
American fisheries at 
(1645), fate of, 318 

Destroyed by Richery, 192 
Bay Chaleur, New England fishers 
at, fishing and curing 
by, and disposal of 
cargoes, 335 
Bay of Chesapeake, not open to 
British fishermen, anal- 
ogy and argument based 
on, 363 
Bay of Delaware, not open to 
British fishers, Nova 
Scotian deduction and 
analogy, 363 
Bay of Fundy, protection in from 
foreign fishers desired, 
362, 363 

Bay of Ice (Baio de Cara- 
mello), 69 

Bay of Islands, frozen herring trade 
of, 377 

Bay of the Little Pig (Baio du 
Prassel), ^o 

Bay of Misfortune (Baio de 
Mallu), 70 

Bay of Mountains (Baio de 
Serra), 70 

Bay Phelypeaux, now Bradore 
iq.v.), Courtemanche's 
abode, 131, 132 <hn, I, 
his life there, 132, 134, 
135 et seq. 
Eskimo at, 147, their thievery, 
148, and firearms, 149 
Fish plentiful at, 132 
as Fishing headquarters, 150, Es- 
kimo attacks, and the 
reprisals, 150-1 
Harbour and surroundings of, 

137, 138 
River near, salmon and trout 

in, 138 
Salads grown at, 144 
Bay Verte, Newfoundland, 34 
Bayard, Secretary, obedience to 
local fishery laws en- 
dorsed by, 367 
Bays and Arms of the Sea in 
Newfoundland excluded 
from American fishers 
by Treaty of 18 18., 
366, 368 
American absence from 
(1783-1818) exceptions; 
reasons for absence, 

American trespassers in, 

364, 365 

in British Colonies, in which 
fishing by Americans is 
permitted by Treaty of 
Paris, 339, 365 

Harbours, Rivers, Creeks, and In- 
lets, British possessions, 
American fishers ex- 
cluded from after Treaty 
of Ghent (1814), 356 
Hamilton's enforcement there- 
of, 361, n. I 



Bays and Arms of the Sea in New- 
foundland (contd.): — 
Prevention of foreign resort to, 
Nova Scotian Legisla- 
ture on, 362, 363, 364 
Beard, Pliilip & Co., Messrs., 
fishing post of. Sand- 
wich Bay, lawsuit con- 
cerning (1820), 391-4 
Beardsley, Lieut., and York 

Fort, 190 
Bears, at Cape Cod, 325 
Black, Labrador, 119 
White, brought from Newfound- 
land by Corte Real, 64 
in John Cabot's A^ew Isle, 

Salmon - catching, Sebastian 
Cabot on, and Cart- 
wright on, 22, 242-3 
Beavers of Cape Cod, 325 
Beck, John, Moravian, a hereditary 
missionary, 298 ; letter 
by, 259 ; return home 
with his wife, 298 
Bedford, Earl of, 47 
Behring Straits, Eskimo of, 

156, 157 
Bell Bay, wintering-place of De 
Brouague's hunters, 152 
Belle Isle, advantages of fishery 
at (1841), 40S-9 
French encroachments, on Milne 
on (1841), 408-9, Locke 
on (1848), 409, mea- 
sures taken to prevent 
{1852), 410 
on Kunstman III map, 61 
Original name of, 35 
Owned by Labrador (i 841), Milne 
on, 409 
Bellini Map (1744), Bradore shown 

on, 132, ]i.i 
Beothuks, the, original inhabitants 
of Newfoundland, 34, 
77) captured for slaves 
by Corte ReaFs expedi- 
tion, 34-5, 53, 54, 59, 
consequences, 35 
Considered by some to be 

Skraelings, 16 
Efforts to save, 223, 291 

Beothuks, the, original inhabitants 
of Newfoundland {contd. ) : — 
Expedition of tlie Cartwrights 
to make friends with, 
Raw meat not eaten by, 162 
Tradition of their migration to 
Labrador, 152 

Berlin, Eskimos exhibited in, 310 

Bernard, Sir Francis, Governor 
of Boston, Account of 
Labrador (1760), by, 
Palliser's letter to, on barbarities 
of New England fisher- 
men to Eskimos, 175 
Palliser's Regulations for tlie 
Labrador Whale Fish- 
ery sent to, 220 

Berteau, Robert, Jersey firm 
in Labrador fishery 
(1S06), 3S9 

Best, George, on the Eskimos met 
by Frobisher (1576), 
on S. Cabot's voyage of discov- 
ery, 42 

Bettres, William and Cathrine 
Gourd, married by 
G. Cartwright, 229 
& n.l 

Bible, the, translation of, into 
Eskimo, by Mora- 
vians, 276 

Biddle, Henry, on the meaning 
of " Labrador," 53 

Bilbao, principal market for 
American fish from Lab- 
rador, 374 

Biorne, companion of Karlsefni's 
Vinland voyage, 8 

Bird, Joseph, 430 

Bird isles, first named on Relnel's 
map, 62 

Bird Spear, in Eskimo legend, 13 

Birds, Hawks and Popinjays from 
Newfound, 40 
of Passage at Cape Cod, Atkins 
cited on, 325 

Biscayans, claim of, to fishing 
rights, Newfoundland, 



Black Bear Bay, or Black Ba,Y, 
salmon-fishery firm at, 
gains of, 385 
Sealing posts at, 385 
Settlers at, 394 
Black Death, devastation by, in 

Greenland, 3 
Black Islands, American fishers 

near (1840), 375 
Black Tickle, fishing post, 414 
Blackfriars Bridge, Eskimo amaze- 
ment at, 235 
Blackguard Bay, Grimes the priva- 
teer in, 244 
Blanc Sablon (see also Anse Sab- 
on), 70 
Cartier at, 75, 77, 89 
Fishery at, 151, 154, 386, 3S9 
American fishers near (1840), 

French vessels at (1713), 135 
Jersey firms at (1848), success 

of, 409 
importance of, firms at, and 

catch (1863), 419 
name discussed, 75 d; n. i, see 
also 70 

Naval Surrogates' visit to, 
(1810), 390 

as Southern limit of Boundary 
line between Canada 
and Newfoundland, on 
Labrador, 446, 447 
Blanc Sablon to Cape Charles, 
proposed concession of 
fishing rights between, 
to the French (1856), 
prevented by Newfound- 
land, 410-1 

to Cape Harrison, Newfound- 
landers hshing between 
(1856), numbers of, and 
take, 410-1 

to Gagnish, rights on, acquired 
by a company, cele- 
brated lawsuit of, 383 

and St. John river, territory 
bounded on the north 
by, approximately, the 
countrydivided by rivers 
falling into Gulf of 
St. Lawrence, 446 

Blanc Sablon to Cape Charles 

[contd. ) : — 
to Sandwich Bay, resident 

population between, 

(1856), 411 
Block House at Pitts' Harbour, 

see York Fort 
Blockhouses, proposed by Palliser, 

179, iSo-2 
Blowers, S. S., 364 
Blue Book issued on Labrador, and 

Newfoundland question 

as to collection of 

Dues, 418 
Board of Trade, assistance from to 

Haven and the Mora- 
vians, 259-60 
and Cartwright's case against 

Noble and Pinson, 232-3 
Graves' letter to, on needs of 

charts of Labrador, cfec, 

upshot of, 198 
Interest in the Quebec Act (1774), 

436, 437 . 
Memorial of, advising re-annexa- 
tion of Labrador to 

Quebec (1772), reasons 

given, 436 
Papers, on Labrador fishery, 

{circ. 1763-74), 204 et 

seq., 278 
Boas, Franz, on the original home 

of the Eskimos, 160 
on the word Kablunaet and its 

problem, 159-60 
Boaventura, first named on Reinel's 

map, 62 
Bofragara, mythical race, 86 
Bois, Simon du, Jersey firm in Lab- 
rador fishery (1806), 389 
Bonara, mythical town, 86 
Bonne Bay, called Bell Bay in De 

Brouague's day, 152 
Frozen herring trade of, 377 
Boiietfa, H.M.S., 194 
Boothia Felix, stone ruins at, 

Amundsen on, 15 dsn. i 
Boots, Sealskin, made by Eskimos, 

299 (fc n. I 
Bossett, Lieut., and York Fort, 190 
Boston, Massachusetts, 336 
Atkins' return to, 326 



Boston, Massachusetts {contd.) : — 
Collector of Customs at, instruc- 
tions to, from Wash- 
ington in respect to local 
fishery laws, 367 
Fishers from, first visits of, to 
Labrador coast, 152, 

I53» 321 
Fishers from, off Newfoundland, 

(1645), 318 
Governor of, see Bernard 
Grimes, the privateer, sailing 

from, 244 
Janvrin's trade with, 337 
Merchants of, gift by, of pro- 
visions to Newfound- 
land (1816-7), 359 

Boston News Letter'^ov. 18, 1766, 
on New England 
Whalers and Palliser's 
regulations, 329 

Boswell, James, on his visit to Cart- 
wright's Eskimos, 238-9 

Boucorre river, 86 

Boundary Dispute with Canada, 
Memorial on, of Cham- 
ber of Commerce, St. 
John's, to Lord Bath- 
urst (1825), 451-3 

Boundary Line between Newfound- 
land and Canadian terri- 
tories on Labrador 
roughly stated, 446, 447 

Bounties, to American fishers, 

374, ^'-i 

to British ships in the Whale 
and Cod fisheries, Pal- 
liser's proposal, 178-9, 
186, n.\, 384 

French to Labrador and New- 
foundland fisheries, 182, 
3S9> 426 
countervailing, proposed, 359 

on Salt, to American fishers, 
(1820), 370 
Bourgin or Bourquin, Brother, 
Moravian missionary- 
in-chief, appointed Ger- 
man Consul for Labra- 
dor, 308 ; arrest by, of 
an Eskimo murderer, 

Bows and Arrows, used by Es- 
kimos of Labrador, 
29, 211 
Bowker, Captain, and the Nova 
Scotia protest against 
renewal of fishing privi- 
leges to Americans, 362 
Braasen, Christopher, physician 
and surgeon, sent to 
Nain, 268 
Bradbury, John, St. John's firm 
in Labrador fishery, 
(1806), 389 
Bradore, or Brasdor, formerly Bay 
Phelypeaux and other 
names, 132 & n.\ 
Basque Whaling-depot, 132 
De Brouague as Commandant at, 

his reports, 1 50-3 
Fishery at (1S04-6), 389 
Nova Scotian and American 
fishers at (1833), Audu- 
bon on, 376 
Ruins of. error concerning, 78, 

79, 153. 
Seal fishery, Eskimos in, 211 
Bradore Bay called Islettes by 

Cartier, fishing at, 75 
Bradore Lakes, Cape Breton, de- 
rivation of name, 52 
Brants, at Cape Cod, 325 
Bremen, Moravians at, 31 1 
Brenton, E. B., 400 
Brest, France, a "Blanc Sablon" 

near, 75, n.\ 
Brest, Labrador, now Old Fort 
Bay, 70, 86 
Cartier at, 77, his boat journey 

from, 76 
Fishery at, 76 
Myth concerning, 153 
Name not given by Cartier, 76 
Position of, mistake as to, dis- 
cussed, 77 ct scq. 
Scene of mythical episode, 79 
Brethren's Society for the Further- 
ance of the Gospel 
among the Heathen, 
or London Society of 
Moravians, trading op- 
erations of, 279-80, 286, 
289, 302, 305, 314 



Bretons, the, first to discover the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence, 73 
Fishers on the Newfoundland 
coast, i6th century, 36 
in Southern Labrador, 118 
in the Straits of Belle Isle, 74 
Voyages of, to Newfoundland, 
evidenced by names, 75 
Bricaut, Sieur de, 81 
Brinon, mythical town, 86 
Bristol, Port of, 337 

Anglo-Azorean expeditions from, 

29, 37 ^^ seq_. 
Birthplace of " Perdita," 200 
Birthplace of S. Cabot, 42 
Customs Rolls of, references in, to 

John Cabot, 20, 24 
Discoverers of Labrador from, 

54. 55 

Emigration to, and residence at, 
of John Cabot, 20, 21, 
his ovation at, on re- 
turn from voyage, 23 

Expeditions from, to "New- 
lands," 37 et seq., 48 

Fishermen from, visits of, to Ice- 
land, 19 (£• W.I 

Merchant fleet of, claim on, of 
the Crown, 48 

Ship Adventurers from, in Lab- 
rador, 380 
Brilliant, H.M.S., 312 
British America, by MacGregor, 
cited on American fishers 
and their catch at Lab- 
rador (1829), 374 

Citedon Labrador fishery (1830), 
statements discussed, 
British and American fishers, 
troubles between ( 1 820), 
371 (1821), ib. {i?>Tj), 

Claim to three-mile limit in Gulf 
of St. Lawrence, &c., 

Cod fishers, and the Labrador 

Seal fishery, debate on 

(1774), 437-8 
Colonial coasts, American fishing 

liberty on under Treaty 

of Paris, 333, 334 

British and American {contd. ) : — 
Colonial fishers, forbidden the 
Labrador fishery by 
Palliser, 381 
Colonies in North America, Ameri- 
can fishing and curing 
rights at under Treaty 
of Paris, limitations on, 
334, 338, 339, 358, 
369, 372 
Bays, Harbours, Rivers, Creeks, 
and Inlets of, exclu- 
sion from, of Ameri- 
cans after Treaty of 
Ghent, 356 
trade with U.S.A. forbidden 
after Independence, 
_ 336, n.\, 340, 341, 344 
Complaints of American fisher- 
men, 339, 343, 346, 

352-3, 354, 355, 362 
et seq., 371, 375 

Contention as to American fish- 
ing rights, true basis 
of, 357 

Firms in Labrador fishery 
(1806), 389 

Fish, Duties on, in Spain and 

Italy, 359 

Purchase of, by Americans, 353 

British Fishery, Labrador (1848), 

409 (1765-1908), 379, 


British engaged in (1830), Mac- 
Gregor on, 403, 404, 

Nursery for the navy, Palliser's 
proposals bearing on, 
379, 3S0, 381 

British Fishing ship, definition of, 
by Palliser (1765), 215 

British Flag torn down by Ameri- 
cans in Labrador, 405 

British Museum, 437 

British Privateers (181 2), successes 

of, 344-5 
British Provinces, salt cod trade 

of, 376 
British Rights in Newfoundland and 

Grand Banks fisheries 

(1823), Hamilton on, 

372, 373 



British Siiip Fishers in the Whale 
and Cod fisheries, Boun- 
ties for, Palliser on, 
178-9, 384, his Act 
for Encouraging, and 
its effects, 184, 186 
cfc ;^. I 
Labrador Fishery reserved for, 
by Palliser, 216, 3S7, 
but long since aban- 
doned by, 426 
Memorial to Palliser, supporting 
his action (1767), 187-8, 
Palliser's reply, extract 
from, 189-90 
Privileges of, urged by English 
firms on Labrador 
(1S63), 418 

British vessels in Labrador fisher- 
ies, decrease in num- 
bers (1792-1832), 403 

British waters, American rights 
in, under Treaty of 
Reciprocity (1854), 377, 
Exclusion from, of French and 
American fishers, me- 
morialized for, by Mer- 
chants of St. John's 
(18 -'3), 34j et seq. 

Brittany {see also Bretons), places 
in, named Carpunt, 75 

Brouague, Sieur de, 14S & n.i. 
Commandant of French 
Labrador, 150-3 
Reports of, 150-4 

Brown, John, on annoyance re- 
ceived from American 
shipmasters, 328 

Bull, Brother, with John Cabot, 
second voyage, 24 

Bulldog, H.M.S., McClintock's 
tele.;raph survey ship, 
415; 416 

Bunker Hill, Gridley's works 
at, 336 

Burgeo, 199 

Burial - places of unknown race, 
Labrador, 15 

Burin, famished by privateers, 332 

Burke, Edmund, and the Quebec 
Act (1774), 437, 43^5 

Burleigh, Lord, attitude of, to 
Queen Elizabeth's title 
to North America, 
109-10, two views, no 
Venture of, in the "Company of 
Kathai," 105 

Burr, Daniel, Surrogate, area of 
his jurisdiction, 221 

Burroughs, Stephen, and the "Com- 
pany of Kathai," 105 

Button Island, 125, Boundary-line 
between Canada and 
Newfoundland on Lab- 
rador starting from, 
. 446, 447 

Button, Sir Thomas, expedition to 
seek the North - West 
Passage, events and 
course of, 124-5, his 
vessels, 126 
on Eskimo character, 165 

Bylot, Robert, with Hudson, and 
with Button, 124 

Byron, Commodore, Governor of 

Newfoundland, interest 

of, in G. Cartwright, 225 

Proclamation by, on Fishing at 

the Magdalen Islands 

(177 0, 328 

on Whale-fisheryGulf of St. Law- 
rence, 195 
Byron, Lord, 225 

Cabo de Bassis (Low Cape), 70 
Cabo de San Antoine, on Kunstman 

III map, 62 
Cabo de Terre Firme (Cape of 

Mainland), 69, 70 
Cabot Celebration at Bristol, 24 
Cabots, the, greatest authority on, 

see Harrisse 
Cabot, John, of Genoa, citizen 
of Venice, resident of 
Bristol, 20, 21, 55 
Disappearance of, from history, 

24, 25, 27 
Discoveries of, English use of, 
controversies on, 93 ct 
seq., 112, 117 
Effect of his success in Portugal, 33 
Fame, appropriated by Sebastian 
now re-established, 25 



Cabot, John {contd.) : — 

Further probable exploration 
{1498), 71 
Letters patent granted by 
Henry VII, 21, 95, 
superseded, 37 
Map by, of discoveries of first 
voyage, on his land- 
fall, 26 
Name given by, to his discoveries, 

where first used, 71 
Natives of Labrador not seen 
by, on first landing, 29, 
No written account left by, 56 
Precedence of, over Columbus in 
discovery of main Ameri- 
can Continent, 116 
Rash surmises of, and the conse- 
quences, 23 
Voyages of : — 

Accounts of, fragmentary, 20 
first, course steered, 21 
facts of, as far as ascertain- 
able, 20-5 
landfall, 21, 25, 71, 266, 
Harrisse on, 27 
principal controversial 

points on, 26 et seq, 
return to Bristol, and re- 
ward, 22 
second, authorities for, 24, 
fate of ships, 23, 24 
Cabot John, and Sebastian, legend 
on maps, of their dis- 
covery of Labrador, 29 
Cabot, Lewis, son of John Cabot, 21 
Cabot, Sancto, son of John Cabot, 21 
Cabot, Sebastian, son of John 
Cabot, 21, 97 
Account by himself, of the efforts 
of Henry VIII to em- 
ploy him (1522), 49-50 
Associated with John, in dis- 
covery of Labrador, 
on Emeric Molyneaux's 
map, 26 
Birthplace, 42 
Character and career, 25, 38, 39, 

40-1 et seq., 44, 49 
Distrusted by the Drapers Com- 
pany, 48-50 

Cabot, Sebastian (contd. ) : — 

Eskimo presented by, to Henry 

VII, 38-9, 42, 161 
Fame of his father appropriated 

by, 25 
Highly esteemed in Spain and 

Venice, 41 
Hudson Strait probably entered 

by, 47 
Map by (1544), 30> 43. 47 

different from J. Cabot's, 26 
Voyages of, Arctic, 43, various 
accounts, 41 et seq. 
to La Plata, 65 

Unrecorded earlier, why in- 
ferred, 44 
With Pert, along Labrador 
coast, &c., 72, 96 
on J. Cabot's death, 25 
on Labrador as discovered by 

him and his father, 31 
on the Trend of the Labrador 

Coast, 67-8 
on White Bears catching Salmon, 
22, 242 
Cabot Straits, Cartier's use of, 89 
Cahili, John, St. John's firm 
in Labrador fishery 
(1806), 389 
Calighoughe, an Eskimo brought 
home by Frobisher, 
Doddinge on fate of, 
163-4, his wife described 
by the same, ib. 
Camp Islands, Labrador : — 

Church of England mission at, 

started by Feild, 430 
Men enticed from, by Ameri- 
cans, 341 
Canada {see also New France, & 
Quebec), 135, 383 
Annexation to, of Labrador, 
objected to, by Mer- 
chants of St. John's, 
45 1 et seq. 
Area, boundaries, climate, 
products, Combes on, 
Boundary line between New- 
foundland and Canadian 
territories on Labrador, 
roughly stated, 446, 447 



Canada {contd.) : — 

English conquest of, conse- 
quences, 171, Labrador 
wholly brought under 
English rule by, 433-4 

"Dark days" in, due to 
forest fires in Labra- 
dor, 197 

Discovery of, Monson cited 
on, 115 

English sovereignty over, de- 
clared by the Treaty of 
Paris, 95 

Eskimo tradition as to Green- 
landers coming from, 12 

Eskimos trading with French 
in, 320 

Hudson Bay Co.'s Labrador 
territories purchased 
by (1871), 442 _ 

Labrador herring sold in, 426 

People of, on Gulf of St. 
Lawrence and Straits of 
Belie Isle, 382 

Provisions and lumber obtain- 
able from, 355 

and Rupert's Land, Delimita- 
tion Commission pro- 
posed, 130 

Small-pox prevalent in, 

(1873-4), 445 

Support in, of Gren fell's 
work, 464-6, 473-4 

Waters of. Jiggers forbidden 
in, 416 
French, 323 

natives. Combes on, 87-8, 
qualities as colonists, 
142, 143. 146 
Lower, Act for extinguishing 
Feudal and Seigniorial 
rights in (1825), 440-1 

grants made by, of Hunt- 
ing and Fishing privi- 
leges in Labrador, 363, 
354, 387; attitude of 
grantees to the Fishery 
rules, 205 

Labrador territory assigned to 
in 1825., 440 
Canada, a town in Canada, Combes 
on, 86 

Canadian fishers off Labrador, 404 
Fishing post in Labrador, Carle- 
ton's request on, 186, 
declined by Palliser, 

Canadian settlers, Hamilton Inlet, 
{1821), Martin on, 442 

Canerio Map, Newfoundland coast 
on, 63 

Cannuklookthuoct tribe of Eskimos, 
numbers of (1773), 
Curtis on, 170 

Canoes or Kayaks of the Eskimos 
or Skraelings, 8, 17, 

139, 156 

number of (1876), 307 
paddles of, 17 
of Indians, 17, met by Atkins, 
321, 323; seen by Car- 
tier, 77 
Cantino map, date, place and 
intention of, 57-8> 
details on, 58-9, 63 
Labrador as shown on, 53-4 
Canto, Ernesto de, on the 
meaning of the word 
"lavrador," 54 
Cape Bellile, Combes' description, 

Cape Bluff Island Harbour, settlers 

at, 394 
Cape Bonavista, 221 
Cartier at, 75 

Named first on Viegas' map, 32, 
other mentions, 31-2 
Cape Breton, 321 

Cartier's coasting voyage along, 


John Cabot's landfall? 25, argu- 
ments for, and against, 
30-1, so shown on his 
own map, 26 

Protection at, from foreign fishers 
desired, 362 

Relation to, of Gut of Canso, 363 
Cape Charles, 221, 320 

American misdeeds at, 353 

Cartwright's dwelling at, and 
household, 223, 225, 
his predecessor at, 
driven away by Eski- 
mos, 230-1 



Cape Charles {contd.) : — 

Darby at, failure of his scheme for 
civilizing Eskimos, 201, 
his Whale-fishery frus- 
trated by affrays with 
Eskimos, 201, 223, 262 

Eskimos of, grief at death of 
those taken to Eng- 
land, 240-1 

Sealing post at, 385 

Surrogate for, Prowse as (1813), 

Whaling station at, antiquity of 
position, 195 
Cape Charles to Blanc Sablon, 
proposed concession of 
Fishing-rights between, 
to the French (1856), 
prevented by Newfound- 
land, 410-1 
to Cape Harrison, Newfound- 
landers fishing between 
(1852) number as esti- 
mated by Cochrane, 410 
to Sandwich Bay, report of 
fishery (1820), Robinson 
on, 395, 396 
Cape Chidley, 68, 320 

Banks along to White Bear Island 
fishery, possible, on, 424 
Fox on, 124-5 
Named by Davis, 121-2 
Possible landfall of J. Cabot, 

argument against, 27 
" Tunnit " exodus to, Eskimo 
tradition on, 13 
Cape Cod, woods, soil, game, furred 

and feathered at, 325 
Cap de Bras or Gras, name for 
N. E. point of Newfound- 
land 1 8th century, 51 
Cape Farewell, lie of, when 
approached from the 
East, 68 
Cape Grimmington, 130 
Cape Harrison, American fishers 
at (1852), 375 
Fishing at (i856), 414 
Northern limit of Labrador, 

(1862), 413 
Pilotage beyond, not known in 
1821., 315 

Cape Harrison to Blanc Sablon, 
Newfoundlanders fish- 
ing between (1856), 
numbers of, and take, 
to Cape Charles, Newfound- 
landers fishing between 
(1852), number as esti- 
mated by Cochrane, 410 
to Sandwich Bay, American 
fishers at (1852), 410 

Cape John, Fishery Protection 

Service, set up at, aim 

of, a success (1852), 410 

French Shore between, and Cape 

Rea, 347 
Harbours near, 348 

Cape Labrador, Spanish name for 
Cape Chidley, 124 

Cape of Mainland (Cabo de Terre 
Firme), 69 

Cape Mugford, fishers north of, 
(1875-6), 422 
Giant Octopus (Kraaken) seen 
off, 298 

Cape Porcupine, Labrador, sandy 
deposits near, 10 

Cape Race, called Cavo de Ingla- 
terra on La Cosa 
map, 30 
IVIarked as Capo Raso on "King " 

map, 60 
Sole name on Newfoundland, 
in early maps, 61 

Capo Raso, see Cape Race 

Cape Ray, 221 

to Quirpon Islands, coast open 
to American fishers by 
Treaty of 18 18., 365, 
to Ramea Islands, American 
Drying and Curing 
privileges along, Hamil- 
ton on, 372 

Cape Rea, shore from, to Cape 
John, yielded to the 
French^ 347 

Cape St. Anthony, 62 

Cape St. Charles Harbour, Civil 
Court held at, 399 

Cape St. Fran9ois, or Francis, 221 
Civil Court held at, 399 



Cape Verde Islands, 1 1 1 
Caplin fish, used as bait, 352 
Caramell (Ice), name on old maps 

of Labrador, 70 
Carbonear Harbour, 409 
Cook's survey of, 198 
Caribou Castle, Cartwright's house, 
in Sandwich Bay, 241-2 
Caribou deer of Labrador, see also 
Antlers, large, found by Cart- 
wright, 242, n. I 
Attacked by Pestilence, 301-2 
Domesticationof (without magic), 
suggested by an un- 
known, 135, 144 
Hunted by Eskimos, 285 
Interniittence in visits of, 302 
Meat of, 146 

IMenace to, of Paper-pulp in- 
dustry, 427 
Moravian references to, 28 1 
Skins of, 136-7 
Carleton, Governor of Quebec, 
Duff's letter to, on York 
Fort, 191 
Request for Canadian fishing 
posts to be retained, 186, 
refused by Palliser, 187 
Carnegie, Andrew, Libraries given 

by, for Labrador, 466 
Carpunt {see also Quirpont), 221 
Cartier at, 89 
Haven at, 256, his meeting with 

Eskimos, 257 
Places so named ia Brittany, 75 
^ Rut at, (1527), 51 
Carta Marina of Waldseemiiller 
(found by Fischer) on 
Labrador. &c., 62, 63, 
label on, 64 
Carte de Verrazano (1529), on 
Labrador as discovered 
by the English, 06 
Carteret, Sir George, and Hudson 

Bay Co., 129 
Cartier, Jacques, 151, at Blanc 
Sablon, 77 
Discovery by, of the St. Lawrence 

river, 77 
First Explorer of the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence, 73 

Cartier, Jacques [contd. ) : — 
Harbour named by, 76 
Indians described by, 76-7, 161 
Maps of the Newfound lands 

prior to, 56 
Object of his voyage (1534) dis- 
cussed, 73 
Opposition to, of the St. Maloins, 

reason of, 36, 37, 74 
Reference by, to Cape Bonavista, 

Silent on Eskimos, 18, 161 
' ' Terra Neuve " used by, for 
both Labrador and New- 
foundland, 33 
Voyages of: — 

in 1534, objective, 73, course, 

75 e/ seq., return, 77 
in 1535, course and extent 
and discoveries during, 

77, 89 
in 1541, course and events, 

Cartwright iamily, the, 222 

Cartwright, — , father of George, 
liberality of, 239 

Cartwright, Charles, his brother's 
rhyming letter to, on the 
Eskimos, 231 

Cartwright, Edmund, inventor, 
&c., 222 

Cartwright, Captain George, 
appearance, manners, 
and conversation of, 
250 ; birth, family, and 
early career of, 222 ; 
character, simplicit)', 
and generosity of, im- 
positions on, 247 ; first 
introduction to New- 
foundland, and Labra- 
dor, 199, 222, explora- 
tions with brother, 223, 
decision taken to settle 
on Labrador, 223 ; busi- 
ness plans and partners, 
201, 203,223, 229, 241, 
247, 249, 382 ; as sports- 
man, 223, his skill, 
224-5, 242-3 ; his dwell- 
ings first at Cape Charles, 
223, 225, later at Sand- 



CartwiightjCapt. George {conid.): — 
wich Bay, 241-2 ; the 

sceneofthefishing bears, 
22, 242-3 ; his garden, 
243, as doctor, 227-8, as 
parson, judge, execu- 
tioner, &c. , 228-9, ^ 
good man of his hands, 
228-9, 233, his journal, 
summarized as to course 
and events of his life in 
Labrador, 224 et seq. ; 
relations with Eskimos, 
210, 211, 225-6, 229-34, 
his own statements on 
the subject, 211, 231, 
272, family taken to 
England by him, 165, 
234, their adventures, 
235-9, f'l-tal small-pox 
attacks and spread of 
infection on return, 240, 

241, 310, 3ii» 313- 
416-7; the attack of the 
privateer Grimes, 244, 
246-S, losses consequent, 
245> 332, 333, other 
alarms and losses, 246, 
382-3 ; trouble with 
Noble & Pinson begun 
((£.• see relations with 
creditors infra), 232, 
result of his Memorial, 
205, 233 ; relations with 
his creditors, 247, 248-9 ; 
departure from Labra- 
dor, 249, appointment 
of, at Nottingham, his 
popularity there, 249-50; 
his death, 250 

Advocacy by, of taming the 
Caribou deer, 470 

Sandwich Bay, 242, 11. 1 

Evidence of, before the House of 
Commons, onGreat Brit- 
ain and Labrador, and 
on his profits, 249,384 

Grant to, of Sandwich Bay, 391 

Letter in rhyme from, to his 
brother,on the Eskimos, 
2 K 

Cartwright,Capt. George {contd. ) :— 
Memorial to Board of Trade on 
Fisheries and commerce 
of Labrador, and on 
possession of a fishing 
post, 205, 233 
Men of, deserting to Grimes, 


Rivals of, see Noble & Pinson 

Plan of, for encouraging Trade of 
Labrador, 233 

Sneer of, at the Moravians, 272 

on Amenities of Sandwich 
Bay, 242 

on Christmas in Newfoundland 
and Labrador, 227 

on Eskimo attitude to Europeans, 
165, 234, 238 

on Eskimo objects of Trade, and 
on lack of stimulus to 
industry among them, 

on Grimes' doings on the Labra- 
dor coast, 192, 244-5 

on Seal fishery outfit, 226 

on White Bears fishing for Sal- 
mon, 22, 242-3 
Cartwright, John (Major), reformer 
and patriot, 222 

on his brother's visit to London 
with the Eskimos, and 
on his character, 239 
Castle Bay (Chasteaux or Chateau, 

q.v.), 70 
Castlereagh, Viscount, 343 
Cataia, Cataya, Cathay or Kathai, 

see China 
Catalina Harbour (St. Katherine), 

Cartier at, 75 
Caubvick or Kaubvick, Eskimo 
woman taken to Eng- 
land by Cartwright, 235, 
ill of small-pox, her hair 
saved and the conse- 
quences, 240-1, 311, 
Cavanagh, Lawrence, American, 
Newfoundland fishing 
law broken by (1774), 
Cave men, Eskimo resemblance 
to, 159 



Cavendish, Sir Henry, m.p., short- 
hand notes by, of de- 
bates in House of Com- 
mons (1768-74), 437 
Champlain, Samuel de, silent as to 

Brest, Labrador, 79 
Chappell, on Eskimos at Lanse-a- 

loup(i8i8), 213 
Chardot, fishing stages at, 147 
Charles, Cartwright's servant, 
death of, cold endured 
by, 232 
Charles Bay, Grimes's depredation, 

in, 245 
Charles H., Hudson Bay Co.'s 
charter granted by, 
12S-9, 433 
Charles v., Emperor, French ships 
prevented by, from 
going to Newfoundland 
for fishing, 36 
Charlestov/n, fishers from, off New- 
foundland (1645), 318 
Charlevoix, P. F. X. de, silent 
as to Brest, Labra- 
dor, 79 
on Indian feuds with Eskimos, 
133, 166, 167 
Charlotte, Queen, 236 
Charter of Hudson Bay Co., 
granted by Charles II. 
128, 433, scope of, 129 
Chasteaux (Castle Bay), 70 
Chateau Bay (called also Chasteaux, 
Chatteau, and York 
Bay), 70, 372 
Cartier at, 75 
Civil Court held at, 399 
Cook's and Banks' friendship 

formed at, 199 
Coughlan's sealing post at, 203 
as Depot, Parkhurst's suggestion 

as to, 103, 107 
Drachardt and Hill at, 261-2 
Eskimo of, peace made with by 
Palliser, 173, 174, 175, 
262, 274 
First mention of, and first 
appearance on map, 74 
Fishery at (1804-6), 389 
Geological formation, 10, and 
fitness of name, 74 

Chateau Bay {contd.) : — 

Harbours in, block-houses for, 
Palliser on, iSi, 182 
Parkhurst on, 103 
Jens Haven at, 257 
Palliser at, Eskimo scare at. 

Banks on, 173-4 
Possibly Karlsefni's Wonder- 
strand, 10 
Sealing at, Eskimos peaceable at 

(1742), 154 
York Fort in (q.v.), 227 
Chatham, Earl of (the great), 
opposition of, to Quebec 
Act (1774). 439 
Chaviteau Map (169S), Bell Bay 

on, 152 
Cheppelle, Lieut., on Richery's 
raids, and on Noble & 
Pinson, 194 
Cheater, Grenfell's birthplace near, 


Cheynes (Cheines), S. Cabot's 
map once at, 47 

Chicago Exposition, Eskimos shown 
at, destitution on return, 
311, disease brought 
back by, 312 

Chidley, John, Cape, Chidley named 
after, by Davis, 121 -2 

Chidley Peninsula, 125 

Chidleis Cape, see Cape Chidley 

Chimmo, Lieut., on date of fish 
strike at Ice Tickle 
(1S67), 28 
Survey by, of Northern Labrador 
coast (1866), 414, 
thanks to, from Mer- 
chants of St. John's, 415 

Chimney Ticlcle, American inter- 
ference with, fishery at, 
Gordon's complaint, 37 1 

China (Cathay, Kathai), goal of 
early trans-Atlantic voy- 
ages, 19 
Search for the North West Pas- 
sage to, 42, 43, 47, 118 
et seq. 
Eden on, 66 

Frobisher's voyage, 104, 105 
"Kathai Company" formed 
to seek, 105-8 



Christianity introduced into Green- 
land, 2, 3, 7 
Introduced into Labrador, see 

Christmas Eve observances, New- 
foundland and Lab- 
rador, G. Cartwright 
on, 227 

Chronicles of Eusebiiis on savages 
from Terre Neuve, 36 

Chuckbelwut tribe of Eskimos, 
numbers of (1773), Cur- 
tis on, 170 

Chuckbuck tribe of Eskimos, num- 
bers of (1773), Curtis 
on, 170 

Church of England, members of, 
on Labrador (1848), 
430, Missions since car- 
ried on among, 430-1 

Churches built on Labrador after 
1848., 430, 431 

Cipango (Japan), visions of John 
Cabot concerning, 23 

Cirnes, place-name, 70 

Civil Court, Labrador, set up, 
abolished, re-estab- 

lished, &<:., 294, 367, 
395- 7 > 398) 400, 407, 
442, 443, 445, 449-53, 
Judges of, see MacNeil, Patter- 
son, PinsentjSweetland, 
o.nd Tucker 

Civilization, fatal to Eskimos, 
sec under Eskimos 

Clark, Sir Andrew, 459 

Clay (Argillur), place-name, 70 

Clinker, ^ VL.lsl.^., 448, at Nain, 
further voyages of, 290-1 

Clothes, Eskimo, 13, 38, 39, 64, 
139, 161, 162, 211, 307 
Indian, 76, 162, 322, 323 

Coats, Capt. W., on Eskimo 
characteristics, 168-9 

Cochrane, Captain, French re- 
moved by, from Belle 
Isle (1S52), 410 
on numbers and location of 
American fishers on Lab- 
rador (1852), 375, 410 

Cochrane, Sir T. , instructions of, 
Patterson, as first Civil 
Judge, Labrador, 397-8 

Proclamation by, instituting and 
regulating Labrador 
Civil Court, and its 
circuit, 397, 39S-400 
Cod-fish {Stock - fish), passitii, 
average annual export 
of, from America 
(1818-48), 374, and see 

Bait for, see Capelin, and 
Herring, frozen 

at Belle Isle (1841), 408-9 

Catch off Labrador, estimated 
(1826), 402 

on Coast and in Rivers of Lab- 
rador, 321, Davis on its 
plentifulness, 119-20 
Moravian reports on, 281, 2S4, 
299 ; Eskimo taught to 
catch for winter use, 
285 ; consequence of 
neglect of, 297 
Moravian sales of, in St. John's, 

Quantity caught unknown, 425 
Takes of, see Labrador fishery, 

vessels engaged in, &c. 
Total average annual catch 
{circ. 1830), author's 
estimate, 406 

Curing of, on Labrador, Curtis 
on, 210 

Date of fishing for, 303 

Demand for larger size, alleged 
reason of decline of 
American Labrador 
fisher}^ 376 

Exported or caught off Labrador, 
statistics of, hiatus in, 
412, and see Appendix 

Export of, from Labrador (1820), 
Robinson on, and Col- 
onial Records on, dis- 
crepancy between, 396 
(1829), Macgregor on, 406 
from U.S.A. (1830), Sabine 
on, 404 

Fishing methods, past and 
present, 406, 458 



Cod-fish {couid.):— 

Fluctuating quantities of, 300, 

302, 306 
High prices, in recent years, 423 
Largest item in fishing indus- 
try, 413 
Cod-fishery : — ■ 

Bounty to British ships in, Pal- 
liser on, 178-9, his Act 

for, 186, 77.1 

Forbidden to American Whalers 
by Falliser, his regula- 
tions and their infringe- 
ment, 214, 216, 318, 

327, 352, 371 
Grand Banks and Labrador, 

American Company 

formed for, after war 

of 1812., 356 
Localities of [see also Banks), 

137, 151 
Hamilton Inlet, chiefly worked 
by Americans (182 1 ), 449 
Hancock's Inlet, 324, 325 
Iceland, 19, 11. i 
off John Cabot's "New Isle, "22 
of Labrador ; 

"free fishery" rules and, 436 
injury to, from American 
fish-offal, complaints 
(1765), 214 (1814), 352 
(1821), 371 
on American (1806) fishing 
methods, 389-90 
in Newfoundland Vvfaters, 34 
at Placentia, 146 
in Straits of Belle Isle average 
take(t7Vr. 1856) by New- 
foundlanders, 410-11 
record (1777), 244 
United States, Sabine's statis- 
tics, 335 
Cod-traps, 406, 458 
Codner, U. , & Co., complaint of, 
on drying, &c. stages on 
Labrador, 339, reply to, 
defining American posi- 
tion, ib. 
Codner, William, & Co., English 
firm in Labrador fishery 
(1806), 389 

Cod Roy, River, Brown's Fish- 
ery, American offenders 
at, 328 

Coffin, Admiral Isaac, and his 
grant of the Magdalen 
Islands fishery, 338 

Coffin, Captain Townshend, lease 
by, of Magdalen Islands 
fishery, 338 

Cogswell, H. H., 364 

Cold Gulf (Golfo Froit), 70 

Coleman, of Covent Garden 
Theatre, and the Es- 
kimos, 236 

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, on 
G. Cartwright's jour- 
nal, 224 

CoUingham, Mr., Cartwright's 
partner, 249 

Collins, William, a fish merchant, 
account of, with his ser- 
vant, 184-6 

Colonial idea in England, dawn of, 
108-9, Froude on, 109 

Colonial Records, on American 
fishers off Labrador 
and Newfoundland 

(1819, 1820), 371 
on Codfish export (1820), 396 
on Nicholas Darby (1763), 200 
Silent on Richery's raid, 192 

Colonists {see also Settlers), treat- 
ment proper for. Lord 
North on, 183 

Columbus, Christopher, Cabot's pre- 
cedence over, in dis- 
covery of Mainland of 
America, 116 
Lands found by, Cabot's dis- 
coveries and, Ayala's 
surmise, 57 
Stimulus of his discoveries 
to Portuguese explora- 
tion, _ 33 _ 
Source of his inspiration, 20 

Colville, Lord, of the Northuniber- 
land, and Cook, 198 ; 
retaking by, of St. 
John's, 19S 

Combes, Sieur de, letter of, from 
New France, Dawson's 
translation, 79 c( scq. 



Compass - variation in Hudson's 
Straits, Ruysch on, 121, 

in J. Cabot's time, investigators 
of, 28 

in Latitudes of Labrador and 
further North, confusion 
caused by, 67, 69 
Conception Bay, 71, 425 

Distress and riots at {1816-7), 
causes, 359 

Fishers from, in Labrador fish- 
ery, 451 

Fishery failure, consequences of 
(1806), 390 

on Kunstman IIL map, and in 
reality, 62 

Man-smuggling from, 319 

Merchants of. Memorial of, on 
conduct of Americans in 
Labrador (1806), 341, 
consequences following, 

Petition from, for Courts of 
Justice on Labrador 
(1845), 409 
Vessels from, in Labrador fishing 
(1825), 402 
Contraband (see also Man-smug- 
gling) by American 
fishers in Labrador and 
Newfoundland, 318-20, 
342, 344, 346, 354 
Conversion, effect of, on a Sor- 
cerer, 282 
Contarini, Mercantorio, on Sebas- 
tian Cabot's voyageof ex- 
ploration, 41-2,47,49-50 
Cook, Captain James, assistance 
given by, to Haven, 257 
Charts by, accuracy of, 199 
Earlier career of, 197-8 
Labrador coast surveyed by, 

i97-9> 257 
Observation by, of transit of 

Venus (1767), 199 
Voyage round the world, 199 
Cook and Lane's map (1790), 
Bradore on, 132, n. i 
Cook and Lane's sailing directions, 

still repeated, 199 
Cooke, John, 112 

Cooksley, Captain, Naval Surro- 
gate, and Beard's ag- 
gressors, 391 

Co-operator, schooner built at St. 
Anthony, 465 

Copper, alleged, in Labrador, 136 

Coppermine river, Indians of, 
Eskimos killed by, 167 

Coppie dvne Lettre envoyee de la 
Nouvelle France ov Can- 
ada, par le Sieur des 
Combes (1609), transla- 
tion byDawson,79 etseq. 

Coreati Corterati, or Cortereali, 
name for south of New- 
foundland on Carta 
Marina of Waldsee- 
miiller, 63, 64 

Corte Real family, royal grant to, 
of Newfoundland, 35 
Voyages of, results as to Spanish 
interests, 37 

Corte Real, Caspar, Azorean, sent 
by Emmanuel of Portu- 
gal to seek the North- 
West Passage, 33, 58, 
59, countries reached 
by, 34, 5S> 64, captives 
taken, 34-5, 60, 66, con- 
sequences, 35, problem 
of hisfate, 35, 59, 64 
Expeditions in search of, 35, 54 
LalDrador, not Greenland, seen 

by, 52, 59, 71 
Landfall, supposed, of, 59 
Landing at Notre Dame Bay, 

71, name given by, 9 
Maps showing discovery ac- 
tually, and in fancy, 57 
et seq. 
No Written account left by, 56 
Savage men, white bears, ani- 
mals and fish brought 
from Newfoundland, 64 
Terre Verde named by, 59 
Unable to land on Labrador, 53 
Corte Real, Miguel, expedition of, 
in search of Caspar, his 
own fate, 35, 64 
Explorations on Newfoundland 
and Labrador coasts, 
probable, 71 



Corte Real, Miguel {conid.):— 
and the Maps, Kunstman II, 
60, and Kunstman III, 

Cosmogyaphie Universelle, by 
Thevet, tale in, of the 
Straits of Belle Isle, 
90, 92 

Cos7iiograJ>ky, by Ptolemy, famous 
map drawn for, 62 

Costa (Straight Coast), 69 

Cosway, Richard, portrait by, of 
" Perdita," 202 

Cottonian Collection, Dr. Dee's 
map, and statement in, 
on English rights in the 
New Lands, 108 

Coughlan, Jeremiah, of Fogo, in 
partnership with Cart- 
wright, 203, 382 
Trading ventures of, in the Seal- 
fishing, 203, 382 
on the Privateers, his defeat of 
Grimes, and on Noble 
& Pinson, 333 
Outlying establishments of, 
203, 382 

Coughlan & Hooper, Labrador 
firm, 383 

Countess of Effingham, Cartwright's 
vessel, commandeered 
by Grimes, 245, retaken 
and restored, 246 ; loss 
of, 247 

Courtemanche, Augustin, Legar- 
deur, Sieur de, 470, 
first French settler on 
Labrador, 131 ; ap- 
pointed Commandant 
of the Coast of Lab- 
rador, 134 ; glimpse of, 
in Lair's letter, 147-8 ; 
grant to, 79) renewed, 
134; fishing and trading 
rights, 134 ; life at Bay 
Phelypeaux, 131 -2, de- 
scribed by an un- 
known, 135, 137-8 ; re- 
lations of, with the 
Eskimos, 133-4, 140, 
147-8, 149-50; relations 
with Montagnais In- 

Courtemanche, Augustin, Legar- 
deur, Sieur de {contd. ) : — 
dians, 132, 137, 150; 
settlement of, ruins of, 
error as to, 79 ; death 
of, 150 

Courtemanche, Mme. de, 150, 
Lair's letter to, on Es- 
kimo menace to Bay 
Phelypeaux, 147-8 

Courtemanche, Mile, de, 148, 150 

Courtemanche, Sieur de (an- 
other), 153 

Covent Garden Theatre, Cart- 
wright's Eskimos at, 

Cowper, William, on concessions in 
the Treaty of Paris, 93 

Cozens, Mr., visit of, to Hamilton 
Inlet (1825), 293, and 
to Moravian mission- 
aries, 428 

Craig, Sir J. H., Governor of 
Lower Canada (1S09), 
Holloway's letter to, on 
rights of French grant- 
holders in Labrador, 44 1 

Cranmer, Archbishop, and the 
Cartwright family, 222 

Crantz, on the fate of the aban- 
doned Greenland colon- 
ists, 4 

Crefeld, Eskimo child's death 
at, 310 

Crews {see also Man-smuggling), 
return of to Britain, in- 
sistence on, 216; regula- 
tions on, evaded by 
New England fishers, 

Crocodile, H.M.S., on Fishery Pro- 
tection Service (i 840-1), 
375> 408 

Crofton, Captain Ambrose, on 
Amerians in the Labra- 
dor fishery (1798), 
3356, their poaching in 
rivers, 336 
on the British fishery on the 
Magdalens (1798), and 
its American competi- 
tors, 336-7 



Crofton, Capt, Ambrose {conid.) : — 
on Eskimos of Southern Labra- 
dor (1798), 21 1-2, his 
forecast not realized, 212 
on Man-smuggling into America 

(1798), 319-20 
on taking possession of Temple 
Bay, 192-4 
C}-onicotz regtivi AngHce, ms., refer- 
ence in, to John Cabot's 
second voyage, 24 
Croque Harbour, 192, Palliser's 
notice to the French 
at, 177. 
Cross, James, President and signa- 
tor of the Memorial on 
the Boundary dispute, of 
the St. John's Chamber 
of Commerce, 453 
Crowdy, Dr., sent by Newfound- 
land Government to 
vaccinate Montagnais 
Indians (1874), 445 
Cuba, discovered by Columbus, 57 
Cumberland Inlet, American 
Whalers deserting from, 
at Okak, behaviour 
of, 303 
Eskimos of, words used by 
for dwellers inland, and 
for Indians of Labra- 
dor, 13 
Curlew, at Cape Cod, 325 

Flocks of, disappearance of, 
from Labrador, 302 
Current from Hudson's and Davis 
Straits, ice borne by, 324 
off Labrador, trend of, Atkins 
and others on, 326 
Curtis, Lieut. Roger, chart by, of 
Labrador coast, 209 
Reports on Labrador cited, 209-10 
on Eskimos in Labrador (1773), 

on misconduct of New England 

Whalers, 332 
on the Moravians at Nain (1773), 

269, 270 
on Newfoundland fishers off 
Labrador (1772), settle- 
ment of, advised by 
him, 381 

Cusack, Rev. E., visit of to Straits 
of Belle Isle (1S40), 428 

Cymbeline, performed for Cart- 
wright's Eskimos at 
Covent Garden, 236 

Dalhousie, Earl of. Memorial to, 
of Nova Scotian Legis- 
lation, on Renewal of 
Fishery privileges to 
Americans (1818), 362-4 
Darby, Nicholas, father of " Per- 
dita," trading career of, 
in Labrador and after, 
200, 202-3, 383 
Haven's meeting with, 257 
House of, at Cape Charles, 
utilized by G. Cart- 
wright, 223, 225 
Petitions to Board of Trade, 
grounds of, and re- 
fusal, 204-5 
Whahng station of. Cape Charles, 
195, 223, affray at, with 
Eskimo, 201, 262 
Darby, Thomas, and his descend- 
ants, 200 (fe n. I 
Dark Bay (Baio Oscura), 70 
"Dark days," in Canada, causes 

of, 197 
Darling, Governor, Labouchere's 
despatch to, assertion 
in, of Rights of New- 
foundland (1856), 411 
Visit of, to Labrador coast, 
(1856), 412 
Dartford, Kent, Assay-works at, 107 

Gilbert's departure from, 1 1 1 
Dartmouth, Devon, 391, 465 
Davis's return to, 122 
Ship Adventurers from, in 
Labrador, 380 
Dartmouth, Earl of, Cartwright's 
Petition to, 7-e his Sal- 
mon fishery, 232, 239, 
his Plan for Encourage- 
ment of Trade of Labra- 
dor, sent to, 233 
Davis Inlet, Atkins' visit to, 
321, 323 
Exploration of, ordered (1786), 



Davis, John, believer in the North- 
West Passage, 122 

High latitude reached by, 119 

Greenland re-discovered by, 4, 
55, 61 

Voyages in search of North-West 
Passage, 118, 120-2 

on the Eskimos of Greenland, 
their love of music and 
games, 164, their skill 
as boatmen, 156 

on Eskimos of Labrador, trea- 
cherous attack by, 164 
Davis, Samuel, Darby's petition 

re, 205 
Davis Straits, 158, 221, Atkins' 
voyage to (1729), 321 

Ice from, Current bearing, 324 

Western side, Eskimo migration 
from, to Greenland, 160 
Dawson, Dr. S. E., Investigations 
by, on Compass varia- 
tion, temp. J. Cabot, 28 

Position of Brest (Labrador) de- 
termined by, 77, 78 

Translation by, of the Sieur de 
Combes' letter from 
New France, 79 et seq. 
De La Rue, Sieur, at Forteau, 

De Quettville & Co., Jersey firm in 
Labrador fisheries, 383, 

389, 419 
Alcohol supplied by, to em- 
ployees, 41 1-2 

De Tierney, St. John's retaken 
from, by Amherst and 
ColviUe, 198 

Dean & Co., firm trading and fur- 
ring at St. Francis, 

(i784-5)> 385 

Death and Burial Customs, 
Eskimo, 15 

Decades, by Peter Martyr, Eden's 
translation, references 
in, to Labrador, and 
quotation from others 
thereon, 66-7 

Dt'cotiverte de Terre Neuve, by 
H. Harrisse, 27, 1 10 
on English claim to Newfound- 
land, 93 

Dee, Dr. John, connection of, with 
" The Company of 
Kathai," 105, 106 
Diary of, cited, 109- lO, on Gil- 
bert's Newfoundland 
expedition, \\\,n.\ 
Labrador granted to, 112 
Statement by, on Rights of 
England in the New 
Lands, and map, 108, 

Deer {see also Caribou, Reindeer, 
and Stags) at Cape 
Cod, 325 

Denmark, Colony from, in Green- 
land, destroyed, 139 
Communications between it, 
and Iceland and Green- 
land, 5 
Expedition from, to Green- 
land, 123 

Dennys, John, a Frenchman, 
voyage of, to ' ' Terre 
Neuve," 36 

Deptford, Frobisher's departure 
from, 104 

Desclier's map, 62, and congen- 
ers, uncertainty in, 
on Labrador and Green- 
land, 67 

Desliens map, the, 62, trend of 
Greenland as shown on, 
68, 69 

Description of the Islands of the 
North, section of i\dam 
of Bremen's book deal- 
ing v;ith Norse voyages 
to America, 5 

Diary of Dr. Dee, cited 109-10, 
III, n.\ 

Digges Island, Eskimos of, attacks 
by, on Hudson'sand on 
Button's crews, 124 

Dighton, Mass., Indian picture- 
writing at, mistaken for 
runic inscription, i 

Discovery equivalent to ownership, 
in l6th century, 103 

Discovery, vessel of Button, Hud- 
son, and Weymouth, 
126, later used by Gib- 
bon, 127 



Discovery of America, by H. Har- 
risse, 27 

Discoveries of the Norsetnen in 
America, by Fischer, 
supporting their voy- 
ages, 2 

Disney, Rev. H. P. , second Church 
of England Missionary 
on Labrador, 430 

Distemper attaclving Dogs in Labra- 
dor, 295 
Mysterious nature and spread of, 
301, 304, other animals 
attacked by, 302 

Divers Voyages (Hakluyt, 1599 
edition), map in, on 
the Cabots' discovery 
of Labrador, 26 

Dobbieg, Capt. , and York Fort, 190 

Documents Authentiques de la 
Marine Normande, by 
E. Gossilin, cited on 
the ebb and flow of the 
Norman fishery in the 
New World, 89 

Doddinge, Dr. Edward, on Calig- 
houghe and his wife, 
Eskimos brought home 
by Frobisher, 163-4 

Dogs, Eskimo, 234, 235 ; Dis- 
temper attacking, 295, 
304, mysterious nature 
and spread of, 301 -2, 
numbers, 307 

Dominus Vobiscum, ship, 51 

Dongeon, Sieur du, Governor of 
Brest, Combes on, 83, 

Dorchester, Earl of, and Mag- 
dalen Islands fishery 
grant, 338 

Dormer & Richards, English firm 
in Labrador fishery 
(1806), 389 

Dorset, Marquis of, Wolsey as 
chaplain to, 49 

Double Island Harbour, settlers 
at, 394 

Drachardt, Christian, Moravian, 
companion of Haven, 
260, 266 ; with Hill, 
Eskimos found by, at 

Drachardt, Christian (contd. ) : — 

Chateau Bay, the Gospel 
preached by him, 261 -2 ; 
sent to work at Nain, 
268, 269 ; his preaching 
there, 267 
on the graves of Erhardt and his 
companions, 253 

Dra^e, H.M.S., 361 

Draper, Chief Justice, 444 

Drapers Company, and expeditions 
to the New Lands, its 
caution and distrust of 
S. Cabot, 48-50, 96 

Drontheim, Archbishop of, attempt 
by, to search for lost 
Greenland Colony, 4 

Druce river, 86 

Drying and Curing privileges of 
American fishers un- 
der Treaty of 1818., 
366, 369 
under Treaty of Paris, 334, 
337, 338, limitations, 339 
on the Magdalen Islands, 

337, 338, 374 
not used (1823), Hamilton 
on, 372 
Stations for, hired by Americans 
on Labrador, 338-9 
Ducks, at Cape Cod, 325 
Duff, Admiral, on uselessness of 

York Fort, 191 
Du Font's map, 17th cen- 
tury, 32 
Durell, Captain, visit of, to 
Cartwright (1777), 246 
Dutch fleet, Massachusetts fishing 

vessels taken by, 319 
Duties, collection of, on Labrador 
(1840), 375, appoint- 
ment of Magistrates 
for, Finlay on (1852), 
by Newfoundland, 445 

debatable ground included in 

collecting area, 443 
difficulties encountered in, 
407-S, 411 
Spanish and Italian, on British 
fish, 359 
Dwellings of Eskimo, 64 



Eagle, H.M.S., Palliser and 
Cook on (1 755). 197 

Earl of Dartmouth, The, one of 
Cartwright's vessels, 24 

Earthquakes, shocks on Labrador, 
2S5, 295, 300 

Eastport, Maine, fishers from, 376 

Ecclesiastical History, by Howley, 
cited on Roman Catho- 
lic religious jurisdiction 
over coast of Labrador, 

Eclipse Island, traces of Cook 
on, 199 

Eden, Richard, references by, 
to Labrador, authors 
quoted by him, 66-7 
Silent on John Cabot, 25 
on S. Cabot's Arctic voyage, 

43, 44 

Edits et Ordonnances of Quebec, 
silent as to Brest, Lab- 
rador, 79 

Edward VI in his Journal, on 
French fishers in New- 
foundland, 36 

Edward VII, decoration given by, 
to Grenfell, 473 

Egeria, H.M.S., trespassing Am- 
erican Whalers seized 
by, 3S1 

Egerton MSS., Cavendish's notes 
of debates among, 437 

Egerton Portulan map, treating 
" New lands " as 
Asia, 62 

Egg-collecting, Eskimo season 
for, 303 

Eiderdown, birds furnishing, Lab- 
rador, 137 

Elizabeth, Queen, English claim 
to Labrador and New- 
foundland dating from, 
32, her enquiry as to title 
and Dr. Dee's state- 
ment, 108, 109-10 
Interestof, in Frobisher'svoyages, 

104, 105, 108 
Letters patent granted by, to Sir 
H. Gilbert, for coloniz- 
ing, &c., in America, 
108, no, III 

Elizabeth, Queen {contd.) : — 

Navigation Act of, aims and tone 

of, 99 
Wish of to see Calighoughe, 164 

Elliott, Hugh, 39 

Elliott, General, and Darby, at 
siege of Gibraltar, 202 

Elliott, Governor of Newfound- 
land, instructed to ex- 
plore Davis Inlet 
(1786), 384-5 

Eisner, Brother, Moravian, letter 
to, from Abraham, an 
Eskimo exhibited in 
Europe, 3 10- 1 

Elson & Co., employers of 
T. Darby, 200 

Emigration, Sir H. Gilbert on, 1 10- 1 

Emery & Best, Jersey firm in Lab- 
rador fishery (1806), 389 

Emmanuel of Portugal, expedition 

sent by, to seek North- 

West Passage, 33 

Expedition sent to seek for traces 

of the former, its fate, 

35. 58, 59 

Grant from, of Newfoundland, to 
Corte Real family, 35 

Grant from, to Pero de Bar- 
cellos, 54 

Share taken on Portuguese fish- 
ing-voyages to New- 
foundland, 35 
England, 355, Cartographical back- 
wardness of, 97 

Demand in, for Halibut, present 
source, possible Labra- 
dor supply, 425 

Eskimos brought to, by Anglo- 

Azorean expedition, 71 

by Cartwright, 234-41, 

310, 416 
by S. Cabot, 38-9, 40, 161 
exhibited in, at Olympia, 312 

Sovereignty of over Labrador, 
Newfoundland, and 
Canada declared by 
TreatyofParis, 95, 433-4 

West Coast, Fishing voyages from 
to the New Lands, 
reason for asserting con- 
tinuity of, 95 ct scq. 



England and France, Labrador 

divided between, 433 
English absence from Labrador 
fishery and fur trade 
(1765), Palliseron, 380 

Atlases, showing Labrador as de- 
pendency of Newfound- 
land («><r. 1774), 440 

Claim to Newfoundland and 
Labrador, bases of, 32 
et prccvi, 57, 93-7, 
112, 433 

Discovery of Labrador.accredited 
by early l6th century 
maps, 26, 27, 29, 62, 
and by Ribero, 11 
Controversy on use made 
of, consequences and 
authorities, 93-7, II2 

Eskimo first seen by, 38-9, 42, 161 

Firms, in Labrador fishery, 404 
Objections to paying Duty or 
Revenue, 407-8, 417-8 

Fishers, Iceland, 19, 20, 22, 99 
Labrador, 95 et seq., 118, 166 

et passim 
at St. John's {circ. 1583), few 
but dominating, 102, 
103, 1 13-4 

Forts [see also Blockhouses and 
York Fort) in Hudson's 
Bay, 136 

Literature, earliest references 
in, to the Discovery of 
America, 44-6 

Marine, growth of, 48 

Merchants in Newfoundland 
Fishing trade, desire of 
for assimilation of Labra- 
dor regulations to those 
of Newfoundland, 384 

Navy, and the " narrow seas," 48 
Labrador as a nursery for, Palli- 

ser's views, 177-83,262 
protection by, for fishing fleets 
from the " New found 
lands," 50 

Neglect of Newfoundland fisheries 
in sixteenth century, 36 

Occupation of Labrador, Eskimos 
at time of, character 
and numbers, 169, 171 

English absence from Labrador 
fishery (contd.) — 
Rights in America, limits of, 

Haies on, 113 
Rule over Labrador as a whole, 
established by conquest 
of Canada, 95, 433-4 
Seamanship, superiority of, testi- 
monies to, and in- 
stances, 97-9,104 
Settlers in Labrador, discouraged 
by Palliser, 177, 178, 
183, 189, 262 
Evicted from French district 
(1785), 249 
Ships, visit of, to Hispaniola 

(1527), 121 
Slackness in exploration, 93-4, 

loo-i, 113 
Voyagers to New Lands, friendly 
pohcy of, to natives, 165 
Englysh Policy^ The, to Keep the 
Seas, 15th century 
poem, reference in, to 
English trade in Iceland, 
19, n. I 
Engroenlandt, see Greenland 
Ephraim, an Eskimo murderer, 
arrest and punishment 

of, 313-4 
Epistle Dedicatorie to Divers Voy- 
ages, by Hakluyt, cited, 


Erhardt, John Christian, a Mora- 
vian, desirous of estab- 
lishing mission to Lab- 
rador Eskimos, 251-2, 
mystery of his fate, 253 
& n.\, 278 

Eric, first Bishop of Greenland, 
search of, for Vinland, 2 

Eric the Red, 6, banished from 
Iceland, discovery of 
Greenland, 2, his name 
for it, reason for, 2, 53 
Saga of, on Norse voyages to 
America, 5 
date, 5 
relative authenticity, 7 

Erskine, Lord, on Cartwright's case 
against Noble & Pin- 
son, 249 



Eskimeaux Indians, a French writer 

on. died by Bernard, 320 

Eskimeaux Siiore, or Coast of 

Labrador, Bernard on, 


Eskimo Island, Hamilton Inlet : — 

Eskimo skeletons on (i860), 

probably Kaubvick's 

victims, 416-7 

Slaughter at, of Eskimo by 

Indians, alleged, 166 
Whale -bone cache found on, 
Banks on, 196 
Eskimo, river of the, 137 
Eskimos or Eskimeaux, General 
References, see also 
Amphibious life of, 156 
Characteristics, 293-4 

Arrogance, 4, 13, 165, 

234, 238 
Ferocity, 4, 8, 9, 13, 16, 
165, <fc see Murders by, 
Idleness, 282, 294 
Improvidence, 279, 282, 284, 

285, 295 
Liove of Music, 164, 165, 281, 

293, 294 
Treachery, 163, 164, 165, 
171, 191 et passim 
modern views of, favour- 
able to, 168-9, ex- 
ceptions and their 
causes, ib. 
Civilization, disastrous to, 159, 
202, 212-3, 240, 272, 
278-9, 293, 296, 304, 
306, 307, 310-4 
Death and Burial customs, 

15, 213 
Economy of. Seals in, 17, 18, 
29, 155, 284,285,303-4 
Whales in, 29 
effect on geographical dis- 
tribution of the race, 
17, 18 
Evolutionary status of, 159 
Fatality to, of Small-pox, 202, 

240, 241, 310 
First described in Icelandic 
Sagas, 161 

Eskimos or Eskimeaux (coiitd.) — 

Identified with Skraelings 
(q.v.), 8, 9, authors' 
reasons, 16-8 

Language, constructive affinity 
of, 158 
practical unity of, 156-8, 
257, what this indi- 
cates, 158 
Rink's deductions from, as 
to origin of race, 158-9 
translation into, by Mora- 
vians, 276, 281, 289 
words, apparently of Norse 
origin, 4 
for foreigners, 4 

Locale, range, and occupations 
of, 29, 156 ; discussed, 
160 ; on what depend- 
ent, 17, 18, 161 

Meaning and origin of Names, 
156, 166 

Mentioned as good smiths 
(circ. 17 15), 139 

Migrations, true route from 
Labrador to Green- 
land, 12 

Nomadic habits of, see Migra- 
tions, inf)-a 

Origin and history of, 156 
et seq. 

Original home of, Boaz on, 160, 
Rink on, 158-9 

Physique, deductions from, 

15?^, 159 
and Seal, parallel between, 

Traditions on Alien nation 

expelled by ancestors 

from Labrador, Rink 

on, I2~4 
on the Fate of the abandoned 

Greenlanders, 4 
on Origin of Greenlanders, 12 
on Ruined non-Eskimo 

houses on islands off 

Labrador, 14, 15 
on Stone ruins at Boothia, 

Felix Amundsen on, 

15 & n.\ 
on Various tribes, and on a 

Uniped, 152 



Eskimos or Eskimeaux — [cotitd.) ; — 
Weapons, 13, 29, 64, practical 
identity of, throughout 
entire race, 156 
firearms superseding origi- 
nal weapons among, 
211, 304 
Eskimos, Asiatic, migrants from 
New World to Old, 
158, Rink's theory, 
Eskimos of Digges' Isle, attacks of 
on Hudson's, and on 
Button's crew, 124 
Eskimos of Greenland, 

Davis's experiences with, 

119, 164 
First appearance in Norse 
Colonies, ferocity of, 3, 
160, 161 
Football played by, Davis 

on, 164 
Houses, use of stone in, 12, 

13, 14 
Migrants from West side of 

Davis's Straits, 160 
Stone implements and weapons 

Traditions of, on Norsemen, 
date of earliest, 15 
on their own origin, 157 
Unknown to those of Labra- 
dor, 157 
Eskimos of Labrador {see also 
under Hamilton Inlet), 
77, 154, I9i> 404 
Acceptance by of Moravian 
deed of settlement at 
Nain, 267 
Advances toward civilization 
and Christianity, 2, 3, 7, 
II, 263, 278-9, 281, 282, 
285, 289, 292, 294, 296, 
304, 307,316, a striking 
instance, 297 
improved condition of {circ. 
1772-98), causes of, 
Crofton on, 21 1-2 
due to Cartwright, 21 1, 231 
due to Moravians {q.v.), 
211, 213, 231 

Eskimos of Labrador [conid.) : — 
Attacks on Coast stations, 147, 
149, 150-1 
on Davis, 120 
on Frobisher, 104, 163 
on Hudson's mutineers, 124 
on Knight's crew, 123 
Basque and Breton Whalers 

ruined by, 133 
Called Man-eaters, by Knight, 

Canoes and Boats of (see also 
Kayaks), 139 
numbers of (1876), 307 
Cartwright's intercourse with, 
210, 211, 225-6, 229-31, 
240-1, 272, his as- 
cendancy, how estab- 
lished, 234 
Characteristics (see also above, 
tinder General Refer- 
ences), excuses for, 168 
thievery, 148, 149, 150-1, 

168, 233 
uncleanliness of, Cartwright 

on, 226 
an unknown on, 139, 140, 141 
Christianizing of entire popu- 
lation, effected by 
Moravian missionaries, 
Clothes of, 13, 38, 139, 145, 
161, 162 
European preferred, 211, 
278, 307 
Condition and tastes when met 

by Crofton (1798), 211 
Courtemanche's relations with, 
Curtis on, 270, his plea for 

better treatment, 20 
Customs and habits of, Mor- 
avian difficulty in chang- 
ing, 281 
Darby's design of civilizing, 

200, how foiled, 201 
Described by the unknown, 
his theory on origin 
of, 139, and on ferocity 
of, ib. 
Depicted as Demons on 
Maps, 162 



Eskimos of Labrador i^contd.) : — 
Diseases attacking, 300 
Epidemics, 304 
Influenza, 296 
Measles, 293, 314 
Sweating and Vomiting sick- 
ness, 292 
Whooping cough, 306, 314 
Diseases criminally intro- 
duced among, results 
of, 213, 312, 427 
Dogs of, 234, distemper among, 
295, 301, called "loss 
of sense disease," 304 
in London, 235 
numbers of (1876), 307 
Dwellings, change in ( 1876), 307 
Stone formerly unused in, 12 
Enslaved by Grimes, 245 
Extinction of, causes of, 212-3, 
279, 427, checked by 
Moravians, 211, 213, 
263, 279, 316, 427 
Feuds of, with Indians, 133, 
140, 165-7, 167-8, 297 
Fights with fishermen, 201, 

219, 255, 262 
First convert, 271 
First encounter with White 
men, approximate date, 

160, 161 

Food of, 29, 38, 39, 133, 156, 

161, 284, 285 
Cartwright on, 225-6 
Courtemanche on, 133 
European, desired, 211, 27S, 

304, 307 
Frightened by Haven's pass- 
port, 256 

Heathen, 305, resorting to 

Okak, 292 

in the South, to the end, 213 

How hindered from joining 

those at Nain, &c., 282 

and Hudson Bay Co., 169, 

305, 407 

Ignorant ofuseoffishing nets and 

of snares, 29, 30, 284-5 

Influence on of Moravians 

(^■^'•), 305 
Legislative protection for, 
needed, 313, 427 

Eskimos of Labrador (contd.) :— 
Menace of, to Bay Phelypeaux 
Lair on, 147-8, fire- 
arms of, 149 
Migrations of, bi -yearly, &c., 
29, 138, 158, 160, 165-6, 

171, 261, 271, 274 
ol)jections of the Moravians, 

reasons of, 271, 272-3 
Moravian Mission to, proposed, 
251-2; started, 169, 254 
et seq., 268, 428, and 
see under Moravian 
on Moravian settlements, esti- 
mated numbers of — 
1801., 275 
1810., 286 
1821., 289 
1828., 293 
1835., 295 
1840., 296 
1850., 298 
i860., 302 
1880., 309 
1890., 314 
Murders by, IC4, 120, 124, 
133. I39> 201, 268, 273, 
283, 307, 313 
of Nain, delight at Martin's 
visit, 290-1 
relations with Moravians, 
267-9, Curtis on, 270 
Not mentioned by Cartier, 161 
Not mentioned by Roberval, 1 62 
Objects of Trade among, and 
lack of stimulus to indus- 
try, Cartwright on, 29-30 
Palliser on, 231 
Palliser's Orders for Estab- 
lishing Communication 
with, 171, text, 172-3, 
191, sale of alcohol pro- 
hibited, 173 
Palliser's peace made with, 

172, 174, i75> 262, 274 
in Paris, sad letter from, 310-1 1 
Plans for civilizing and using, 

140- r 
Plurality of Wives among, 294, 
reasons for, 271, pro- 
blem of to Brethren, 
282, 283 



Eskimos of Labrador {contd. ) : — 
Population, estimates of — 
iSth century, early, 274 
1763., 169-70 
1771., 274 
1798., 212, 213 
1 861., 303 
Prisoners made by Courte- 
manche, 149-50 
by Darby, 201 
Result to, from arrival of first 
American trading ves- 
sels at Hopedale, 413 
Skill in chase ascribed to by 

an unknown, 139 
Skin boots made by, 299 

(is 11. I 
Sole French mention of, Ber- 
nard on, 320 
Sorcerers, a good and a bad, 

2S2, 283 
South Labrador and Straits of 
Belle Isle not frequented 
by, at time of discovery, 
160, 162, 165 
Taken to England, &c., i6th 
century, 38-9, 42, 59, 
66, 71, 163, 164 
iSth century {see also 
Mikak), 201, by Cart- 
wright, their experi- 
ences, fate, and its con- 
sequences, 234 ei seq., 
240, 241, 416-7 
Taken to Europe, 19th cen- 
tury, evil results, 309 
et seq., protest, and 
plea for legislation, 

313, 427 

Terror caused by, till English 
occupation, 169, 257 
methods employed, 171, 
Banks' story on, 173-4 

Thefts from, 258, by New- 
foundland fishers, 308 
by runaway Whalers, 303 

Trade articles providable by, 
29, 30, 141 

Trade with, privileges and 
duties of Fishing Admi- 
rals, 174, 175, 189, 
216, 217 

Eskimos of Labrador (contd. ) : — 

Trade of Moravians with and 
for, aims of, 279-80, 
attitude of the na- 
tives, 280, credit abuse, 
and difficulties con- 
nected with, 306, 307-8 

Trading of, with Europeans, 
methods and results, 

Traditions of, on Norsemen, 
date of earliest, 15 

Treatment of, by Fishermen, 
Palliser's Regzilations 

on, 174-5 
Under Newfoundland rule 

(1763), 435 

at Ungava Bay, friendly to 
Moravians, 287 

Weapons, see above, under 
General References 

Whaling by, in kayaks, 285 

Woman, "surgerie" of, 163, 
at Hopedale, 457 

Women, married by Europeans, 
276, 2S4, 420 

Yearly sequence of occupa- 
tions, as directed by 
Moravians, 303-4 
Eskimos of Newfoundland 

Clothes, 64, 162 

Dwellings, 64 

Painting of Faces by, 64 

Sale of Alcohol to, forbid- 
den, 313 

Stone implements of, 64 
Esquimaux Bay, Land at, granted 
to Moravians (1769), 
Order granting, 263-6 
Estienne, Henry, publisher of 
Ch7-onicles of Euse- 
hius, 36 
Estotiland, title to, of Queen Eliza- 
beth, Dr. Dee on, 
109 <bn. I 
Ethnological and linguistic specula- 
tions on the Eskimo of 
Labrador, 139 
Europe, Eskimos taken to, 38, 39, 
42, 59, 66, 71, evil re- 
sults, 163, 164, 165, 
202, 234, 240, 241, 309 



Europe (^contd.) : — 

et seq., 416-7, protest, 
and plea for legislation, 

3I3> 427 
Fish markets of, Newfoundland 
monopoly of during 
wars, 358 
European contact, disadvantageous 
to Eskimos, 279, 283, 

304, 305. 309- I 3> one 
good result, 381 
Food, Clothes, &c., Eskimo de- 
sire for, 211, 278, 279, 
304, effects, 307 
Markets for Labrador fish got by 
New Englanders, 335 

Evil (Mallie), name on old map of 
Labrador, 70 

Exeter, Ship Adventurers from, in 
Labrador, 380 

Exhibitions in Europe and America, 
Eskimos taken to, 
disastrous consequences, 
309-13, plea for pre- 
ventive legislation, 313, 

Expeditions, maps and charts 
taken by, and added to, 
56, 57 

Exploits River, Newfoundland, 
Beothuk natives from, 
enslaved by Corte Real's 
expedition, 34-5 
Expedition up, of the Cart- 
wrights, 223 

Explorations on the Labrador Coast, 
by H. Y. Hinde, 421 

FABYAN'S Chronicle, on the first 
Anglo-Azorean expedi- 
tion, 38 

Fagundez, Joao Alvarez, letters 
patent granted to, 35 

Falle & Durrell, Jersey firm 
in Labrador fisheries 
(1806), 389 

Faro Islands, 144 

Faukoti, Gilbert's ship commanded 
by Raleigh, ill 

Favourite, H.M.S., Fishery Pro- 
tection ship (1S20), 369 

Fernandez, Francisco, and his com- 
panions, joint expedi- 
tions from Bristol to 
Newfoundland 37 et 
seq., 39 

Fernandez, Joao, and the discovery 
and name of Labrador, 
29, 39. 37 et seq., 54, 
71, 96 
and the " King" map, a sugges- 
tion, 60, n.i 
Letters patent granted to, by 
Henry VIL, 54 

Feild, Anglican Bishop of New- 
foundland, 428, 429 
Visit to Labrador (1848), 429-30, 
missions started there, 
430-1 ; witness on 
the Labrador fishery 
(1S56), 410 

Ferryland, 221 

Fetter Lane, Moravian church in, 268 

Field Bay, 157 

Fifty-second parallel, section of 
Labrador coast along, 
retransferred to Can- 
ada, 441 

Figurative Plan by W. Sax, illus- 
trating area of Labrador 
reannexed to Canada 
(1825), 441 

Finlay, J., on American fishers in 
Labrador (1852) and 
on Collection of Duties 
from, 375 

Firearms, used by Eskimos (177S 
and after), 211, 304 

Fischer, Prof. Joseph, s.j., be- 
liever in Norse voyagers 
to America, 2 
Maps found by, at Wolfegg 
Castle, 62, 63 

Fish and Marine animals, see Cape- 
lin, Cod, Halibut, Her- 
ring, Salmon, Trout, 
&c., see also Octopus, 
Whales, and Seals 

" Fish days " statutory, 10 1 

Fish of Lal)rador : — 
Classes of, 458 

on Coast and in Rivers of, 321, 
see also under Names 



Fish of Labrador : — 

date for striking coast, 28 
of Newfoundland, 64 
Fish, purchase of forbidden to 
Americans by Treaty 
of Paris, 342, 344, 353 
instead of catching. Act of 
1542 to prevent, 100 
Fish Trap, invented by Whiteley, 
how used, effect on 
men's characters, 458 
Fishery(ies), Enghsh, Acts of Par- 
liament deahng with, 
99 et seq. 
in Hudson's Straits included in 
Charter of Hudson Bay 
Co., 129 
Fishery Protection Service, 360, 
365, 410, instructions to, 
on enforcing American 
obedience to local fish- 
ery laws, 367-8 
Reports of, on Labrador fishery 

(1850-70), 412 et seq. 
Strengthening of advised by 
Milne (1840), why, 375 
Fishery Regulations issued by Palli- 
ser for Labrador, Anti- 
costi, Magdalens and 
Whale Fishery, April 
8th, 1765., 213 et seq. 
Fishers, foreign, difficulties of Mora- 
vians increased by 
advance of north- 
wards, 272 
Interests of, safe-guarded in 
grants of land to 
Moravians, 291 -2 
of Labrador under Newfound- 

^ land rule (1763), 435. 
Palliser's Act designed to aid, 
the condition previous 
to it, 184 
Wages of, a typical account, 184-6 
Fishing Admirals, Acts appoint- 
ing, limits of, 206-7 
Duties and privileges of, 174, 
216, 217 
as magistrates, 203, 204 
Palliser on, 174, 189 
Palliser's instructions to, as to 
Eskimos, 174-5 
2 L 

Fishing Privileges, American, see 
American do. 

Fishing Ship Harbour, settlers 
at, 394 

Fishing stations, Labrador, usurped 
by foreigners, 304 

Fitch's Inlet, Bernard on, 323 

Flatey Book, saga, on Norse voy- 
ages to America, date 
of, 5, relative authen- 
ticity of, 7 

"Floaters" defined, 413 

of Labrador, 457-8 

neglect of, 458 

Florida, French and Spanish 
colonies north of, Hud- 
son, 113 
S. Cabot's coasting voyage to, 47 
Wine of. Combes on, 87 

Florida to Hudson's Straits, area of 
North America claimed 
by England in virtue 
of Cabot's discoveries, 
Monson's view, 116 

Flower's Cove, co-operative Stores 
at, 465 

Fogo, Knight at, 123 

Perkins and Coughlan's establish- 
ment at, 203, 223 

Fongo, mythical city, 86 

Food of Eskimos, raw, 29, 38, 39, 
133, 15S, 161, 225-6 ; 
cooked, 211 ; providence 
in, taught hy Mora- 
vians, 285, 297 
of Indians met by Atkins, 323 
supplies of Moravians and Es- 
kimos of Labrador, pre- 
carious and fluctuating 
supplies of, 284, 285, 
288, 295, 296, 297, 299, 
300, 306, 314 

Football, an Eskimo game, 164 

Foquelay, mythical city, 86 

Forbes, Chief Justice, judgment by, 
in Beard-Jennings case 
(1820), importance of, 

Forbush, W. B., Fomitik by, 312 
Ford's Bight (Nisbett Harbour), 

taken possession of for 

England, 252 



Forest, place-name, 70 
Forest fires, Labrador, 196-7 
Forest land visited by Karlsefni, 

see Markland 
Forniset, mythical town, 86 
Forsy the,Cartwright cheated by, 247 
Fort Carlton, Temple Bay, 194-5 
Fort Charlotte, 195 
Fort Chimo, Hudson Bay Co. 's post 

at, started, 407 d; n. i 
Fort Island, suitable for settlement ; 

Bernard on, 325 
Fort Nascopie, deaths near, of Nas- 
copie Indians (1857), 
cause of, 443 
position of, 444, Simpson 
on, 444-5 
Fort Pontchartrain at Bradore, built 
by Courtemanche, 132 
ruins of, error regarding, 79 
Fort Sheffield, Temple Bay, T95 
Fort Townsend, 355 
Fort Wallace, Temple Bay, 195 
Forteau, Basque Whaling-station, 
Bishop Feild's visit to (1848), 429 
Church of England Mission 
started by Feild 
(1849), 430 
Eskimos at 147 
Fishery at, 154, 386, 389 

French fishers in, 135 
Naval Surrogates' visits to 

(1810), 390 
Nursing-home and station built 
at, 466 
Fortune Bay, Atkins at, 326 

Centre of Frozen Herring 
trade, 377 
friction at, with Americans, 
over taking herring, 

Famished by privateers, 333 
Vessel found at by Prebble, 326 
Fougeres, Sieur de, 84 
Fox, Captain Luke, and his sobri- 
quet, 123 
on Button's exit from Hudson's 
Bay, 124-5 
Fox, H.M.S., taken by an Ameri- 
can privateer, 244 
Fox Harbour, Sealing posts at, 385 

Foxes, black, 268, at Cape 
Cod, 325 
of Labrador, Disease attack- 
ing, 302 
Intermittent visits of, 302 
Season for Catching, 303 
Silver, skins of, obtained at 
Cape Charles, 230, 
White, near Nain, 268 
France, ownership of Labrador 
asserted by an unknown, 
France and England in America, 
17th century, 129 
Labrador divided between, 433 
Francis I, Letters patent granted 
by, to Cartier, lost, 73 
Francis Harbour, Church of Eng- 
land Mission started in 
(1850), 430 
Fishery at (1804-6), 389 
Franklin, Benjamin, passport 
granted by, to Moravian 
ships (1779), 275-6 
Fraser, Captain James, of the 
Moravian ship service, 
276 ; on the ice of 1816 
and 1817., 287-S, 2S8 
Frederick II. of Norway, expedi- 
tion sent by, to Green- 
land, 4 
"Free fishery" defined, 435, 
Reeves on, 436 
Rules for unsuited to Labrador, 
Board of Trade on 
(1772), 436 
French, the. Bounties given by, to 
their Labrador fishery, 
finale of (1904), 426 
Bounties given to their New- 
foundland fishery, 182 
in Canada, Eskimos trading 

with, 320 
Capture by (alleged), of York 

Fort, 191, 192 
as Colonists, 142, 143 
Devastations of, at Temple Bay, 
Crofton on, 192-3, 21 1-2 
on Labrador, Palliser's difficulties 

with, 176, 177 

in Possession of Labrador 

(1713-63), 379 



French, the {contd, ) : — 

Proposed concession to, of Fish- 
ing rights on Labrador 
(1856), prevented by 
ISfewfoundland, 410-11 
St. John's retaken from, 198 
French Coast of Labrador : — ■ 

American fishers at, Kemp on, 360 
Annoyance from, 355 
French Colonies on American con- 
tinent {circ. 1583), 
Haies on, 113 
French encroachments on Labra- 
dor fisheries (1835), 
408, Rendell on, 1840., 
408, Milne's investiga- 
tion (1841), 408-9, 
Locke on (1848), 409 
Measures taken to prevent 

(1852), 410 
Stopped, 421 
Objections of, to use of Jigger 
(1716), 415-6 
French fishers on Labrador, 134-5, 
error on in Robinson's 
journal refuted, 370 
Illicit business of, 360 

on Southern Labrador, 166 
Plea for exclusion of, from 
British waters, by Mer- 
chants of St. John's 
(1813), 345*?/^^^. 
at St. Pierre and Miquelon, 

contraband by, 347 
Sale of Bait to, by Nev/found- 

landers, 421 
York Fort planned to keep in 
check, 191 
French Fur-traders in Hudson's 
Bay, and the foundation 
of the Hudson Bay 
Company, 128-9 
French Grant-holders in Labrador, 
rights of, Holloway on 
(1809), 441 
Palliser's regulations resisted 

by (1772), upshot, 436 
Seignories of, on Labrador, 
division of, from terri- 
tories of Hudson Bay 
Co., planned but not 
executed, 433 

French North America and Labra- 
dor, proposed dividing 
line {circ. 1 731), 130 

French Passport to Moravian ships 
granted (1779), 275 

French Rights in Labrador, con- 
firmed by treaty, English 
settlers evicted, 248-9, 
date of extinction of, 370 

French Rights of Fishing, at New- 
foundland accorded by 
the Treaty of Paris, 95, 
how cancelled, ib. 
Settlementson Labrador, 131^/^1?$^. 
Eskimo attacks on (fzr^. 1640), 

French Shore, area of, 347 
Advantages of, 348 
British use o(, during war of 

1812,, 348 
Cession of, consequences to Seal 

fishery, 451-2 
Closure of, effect on native 

fishers, 405 
Contraband trade of French 

on, 347 
Numbers employed on, 348 

French Squadron at Temple 
Bay, 193 

French Voyages to Newfoundland 
fisheries, 36 

French Wars, attitude to, of Mora- 
vians on Labrador, 284 
Newfoundland's prosperity 
during, 35S 

French and American controversy 
on Fishing Rights in 
Newfoundland waters 
(«>f. 1823), 373-4, Ham- 
ilton's comments, 374 

French and British Imperial Gov- 
ernments, Convention 
between, giving rights 
in Labrador fishing lo 
the French, ratification 
prevented by protests 
from Newfoundland 
(]856), 410-1 

Friesland, Frobisher's name for 
Greenland, 104 
Queen Elizabeth's title to, Dr. 
Dee on, 109 



Frobisher, Sir Martin, discoveries 
of, misunderstood, 59 
Eskimos met by, 162-4 
Relics of, found, 107, n. i 
Voyages of, object of the first, 
results, 104-5, objects 
of the later voyages, 

105, 118, and results, 

106, 107-S 

Best's narrative of, on the 
Eskimos, 162-3 
reference in, to S. Cabot, 42 
Frobisher's Straits, Cartographi- 
cal error as to, 59> 

107, n.z 

Eskimos of, language of, Hall 

on, 157 
Relics of his expedition found 
in, 107, n.\ 
Froude, A. J., on the dawn 
of English colonial 
idea, 109 
Frozen herring trade, see Herring, 

Funks, the (Isle of Birds), Cartier 

at, 75 
Fur-bearing Animals at Cape Cod, 
Bernard on, 325 
of Labrador, 321 

menace to, of Paper-pulp 

industry, 427 
Moravian references to, 281, 
286, 299 
Fur-trade of Labrador, future of, 

427, 447 
Not pursued by Eskimos, 29 
Palliser on (1765), 380 
Fur-traders, pioneer Europeans 
in northern Labrador, 
Furs, obtained by Cartwright from 
the Eskimos, 230 

Gagnish to Blanc Sablon, rights 
on, acquired by a com- 
pany, celebrated law- 
suit of, 383 

Gallatin & Rush, Messrs., Presi- 
dent's instructions to, as 
to American Fishing 
Rights to be secured by 
Treaty of 1818., 369 

Galliot, Captain, a Frenchman, 
and Jens Haven, 257-9 

Gambier, Governor, and Codner's 
complaint, his reply de- 
fining the American 
position, as to Fish- 
drying on Labrador, 


Gandra, place-name, 69 

Gannet, H.M.S., Chimmo's survey- 
ship. Northern Labra- 
dor Coast, 414 

Gardar, Greenland, Bishops of, 

3, 4 
Garrick, David, note by, on date of 
JVewe Interlude poem, 

" Perdita" trained by, 202 
Gastaldus Jacobus, cited by Eden, 

on Bacalaos and Labra- 
dor, 66 
Gastaldi Ramusio Map, demons on, 

origin of, 162 
Geese {see also Whobbies), at Cape 

Cod, 325 
Genoa, birthplace of John Cabot, 20 
Geographical Journal, The, and 

Robinson's journals, 369 
Geological formation, Chateau Bay, 

10, 74 
George HL, 233, 252, 267 
and the Eskimo, 236, 238 
on the Quebec Act (1774), 439 
George, Prince of Wales {see also 

Prince Regent), and 

" Perdita," 202 
George's River, Hudson Bay Co.'s 

post at, started, 407 
German War, George Cartwright 

in, 222 
Germanus, Donnus Nikolaus, maps 

by, Greenland on, 63 
Gerrard, Sir Thomas, assignee un- 
der Gilbert's patent, 1 12 
Gibbons, Captain, North-West 

Passage voyage of, 

Fox on, 127-8 
visit of, to Labrador, 127-8, 320 
on Eskimo character, 165 
"Gibbons his Hole," Fox on, 127 
Gibraltar, siege of, Nicholas Darby 

at, 202 



Gifford, Rev. A., first Church of 
England missionary on 
Labrador, 430 
Gilbert, Adrian, 118, n.i 
Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, 118, n.i 
and John Cabot's map, 26, 47 
Pioneer of EngHsh colonization, 
first scheme of and colleagues, 
no, first put into effect, 
its failure, in, second 
attempt, results of, 112, 
his own fate, 113, 114 
Venture of, in " The Company 

of Kathai," 106 
on English supremacy in 
Newfoundland fishing 
ports, 103, 1 13-4 
on S. Cabot's voyage of dis- 
covery, 43 
Gill nets, in Newfoundland Her- 
ring fishery, 378 
Gjoa, voyage of, 15 
Gloucester, Duke of, Mikak's 

present for, 268 
Gloucester, Mass. , Cod-fishing com- 
pany formed at (18 15), 
area aimed at, 356 
Interest in Frozen herring trade, 

Nova Scotian crev/s joining at, 367 

Gloucester Telegraph, on Massa- 
chusetts fisheries, 1790 
toiSio., 334-5 

Goderyck, John, and S. Cabot, 49 

Gold, found by Frobisher, on 
Labrador, 104-8 

Golf du Batel, 167, n.\ 

Golfo de Anurado (Gulf of 
Forests), 69 

Golfo Froit (Cold Gulf), 70 

Golkowsky, Moravian, with Erhardt 
on Labrador, 252 

Gomara, on inhabitants of Lab- 
rador, non-Eskimo, 162 
on latitude of West Indies, 66-7 
on S. Cabot's Arctic voyage, 43 
on S. Cabot's voyage of 1503., 40 

Gonzales, Joao, and his com- 
panions, joint expedi- 
tions with Bristol men to 
Newfoundland, 2)7et seq. 

Good Intent, sloop, Moravian 
ship, captured and re- 
taken, 275 

Good Intent, New England fishing 
vessel, 319 

Goode, G. Browne, on the "indis- 
cretions" of American 
Whalers, and on Palli- 
ser's action, 330, 332 
on Numbers of New England 
Whalers on the Labra- 
dor coast (1765-6), 329, 
and on their complaints 
of Palliser's regula- 
tions, 329 
on Reasons for Decline of Ameri- 
can Labrador fishery, 376 

Gordon, Captain, Naval Surrogate, 
and Beard's aggres- 
sors, 391 

Gordon, Samuel, complaint by, 
of American interfer- 
ence with his harbour 
(1820), 371 

Gorrill, Edward, mate and others, 
slain by Labrador Eski- 
mos, 123 

Gospel, the, first preached to Lab- 
rador Eskimos, 258, 
259, 267 

Goss, Chauncy, & Ledgard, Messrs. , 
of Carbonear, men of, 
enticed away, by Ameri- 
cans, 341 

Gossilin, E., on the decline and 
revival of Normandy 
fishing in the New 
World, 89 

Gothero, Olanus, on Greenland, 
cited by Eden, 66 

Gourd, Cathrine, married to 
William Bettres by 
Cartwright, 229 

Gower, Sir Erasmus, Governor of 
Newfoundland, Petition 
to, of Harbour Grace 
Merchants for Protec- 
tion against Americans 
on Labrador (1806), 390 
on American competition with 
Newfoundland fishers 
(1805), 340 



Grady Harbour, 448 

Granby, Marquis of, George Cart- 
wright, A. D.C. to, 222 

Grand Banks, always princi- 
pal American fishing 
ground, 374 
American vessels built to fish, 

(181S), 356 
American fishers on, 404 
Fish from, how treated, value 

of, 424 
Fishery off. Rights of French, 

Americans, and British 

at, Hamilton on, 373 
Treaty of Paris on American 

rights at, 333 
Total tonnage of Fishing vessels 

at,^335> 404 

Grand Bay, French fishers in, i6th 
century, 92 

Grande Baye des Eskimaux, old 
name for Hamilton In- 
let, 131, W.I 

Grand Falls of Labrador, water- 
power possibilities of, 
427 cfc n.i 

Grand Hamilton River(5e«a/j-^ Ham- 
ilton River), 131, n.i 

Grand River (Rio Grande), 69, 
Wood-pulp possibilities 
on, 427 

Grange & Nash, English firm in Lab- 
rador fishery (1806), 389 

Graves, or Greaves, Sir Tiiomas, 
Governor of Newfound- 
land { 1763), Commission 
of, ^zVif^/ on what part of 
Labrador was within his 
jurisQiction,434-5; proof 
that hinterland went 
with coast, 445 
Relations of, with Captain Cook, 
197, 198 

Great Auks, at the Funks, now 
exterminated, 75 

Great Britain {see also England, 
<£y.), 319 
and America, Telegraph route 
between, McClintock's 
survey for (i860), 415-6 
War Virith( 181 2), effect on fishery 
questions, 344, 345, 352 

Green Bay, 425, common name 
for Notre Dame Bay, 

9. 34 
Greenish Harbour, Cartier at, 75 
Greenland, 415, Beck's forbears as 
missionaries in, 298 
on Cantino and other maps, 54 
Christianity introduced, 2, 3, 
7, the first and later 
Bishops, 2, 3 
Colonized by Eric the Red, 2, his- 
tory, prosperity, and fate 
of Colonists, 3, 4, 161 
Danish Colony, on, destroyed, 139 
Danish expedition to, 123 
Davis's re-discovery of, 4, 119 
Did Corte Real see it? 34, 52, 

53-4, 58 
East coast of, ice barrier of, 
isolation due to, separa- 
tion of (1816-7), 61, 
consequence to Labra- 
dor, 28S 
Labrador names on, in Kunst- 
man HI map, 61 
Eskimos of, see also Eskimo of 
houses of, stone used in, 14 
language of, Hall on, 158 
migration to, from Labrador, 
12, or from West Coast 
of Davis Straits, 160 
unknown in at date of Eric 
the Red's saga, 9 
on 15th-century maps, 58 
Frobisher's name for, 104 
Helluland in relation to, 6 
Historian of, see Crantz 
on the " King" map, 54, 60 
Lie of, when approached from 

the East, 68 
Maps displaying as joined to 

Northern Europe, 63 
Moravian mission in, success 

of, 251 
Population at highest, 2 
Prosperity of, duration and decay 

of, causes of, 3 
Relation of, to Labrador, &c., 
Santa Cruz on, 65-6 
16th-century writers clear on, 
not so map-makers, 67 



Greenland (contd. ) : — 
Relation to, of Newfoundland 
and Labrador, best early 
maps on, 63, 64 
Relations with Norway, 3 
£.tone erections in possible look- 
outs, parallels in Labra- 
dor, 18 
Tiile to, of Queen Elizabeth, 

Dr. Dee on, 109-10 
Two colonies in, ruins of, 2 
Uninhabited on arrival of Eric 

the Red, 161 
Voyages from, to America, 2 

Gudrid and Karlsefni's, 7, 8, 9 
on Waidseemiiller's map, 63 
Waters of, Seal and Fish plenti- 
ful in, 16 
in relation to the West Indies, 

Gothero, cited on, 66 
Why so called, 2, 53 
Greenland to Behring Straits, area 
containing Eskimos, 156 
Greenly Island, injury to fishing 
at by American offal- 
throwing (1821), 371 
Passed by Cartier, 75 
Greenwich Hospital dues, cases 
concerning tried at St. 
John's (1826), 400 
Grenfell Associations in Canada and 

the U.S.A., 473-4 
Grenfell Channel, described by 
MacGregor, 125-6 
Moravian missionaries on, 126-7 
Grenfell Tickle, 125 
Grenfell of Labrador-, by Johnston, 
cited on work of Gren- 
fell (1892-1909), 464-6 
Grenfell, Wilfred Thomasin, m.d., 
c. M. G. , birth, parentage, 
and education, 458, 
medical studies, friend- 
ship with Treves, 459, 
work as medical mis- 
sionary in the North 
Sea, 459, high profes- 
sional status of, 459, 
deep religious life and 
convictions of, 459-60 

Grenfell, Wilfred Thomasin, M.D., 
c. M. G. {contd. ) : — 
Classes reached by, 454-5, inci- 
dents of the work, 455-7, 
et seq. fassini. 
Course used by, to Ungava 

Bay, 68 
Favourite Bible passage of, 462 
Forerunner of, 135 tSin.i 
Lecture tours of, 462, 467 
Love for, of the Labrador fisher- 
folk, 461 
Marvellous escape of, 460-1 
Work in Labrador, 316, begin- 
ning of, 454, 464 
introduction of reindeer, 

methods followed in, 460, 462, 
progress of from 1892 
to 1909., 464-6 
multifarious forms of, 470-2 
results, economic, eventual, 

discussed, 467-70 
royal recognition, 473 
summarized by himself, 472-3 
supporters of, 454, 473-4, and 
critics, 473 
on Grenfell Channel, soundings 

in, 125, «. I 
on Stone erections, possibly 
look-outs, in Labra- 
dor, 18 
Grenville, il.M.S. (schooner), 
Cook's survey - ship 
(1764), 198-9 ; his suc- 
cessor in, 199 
Grenville, Sir Richard, Gilbert's 
colleague in coloniza- 
tion scheme, iio 
Gresham, Sir Thomas, and 
" The Company of Ka- 
thai," 105 
Gridley, Colonel Richard, of Mas- 
sachusetts, lessee of 
fisheries at the Magda- 
lens, part played by, 
in the war, 336, his 
successor in the Islands, 

Grieve, W. B., house for Hospital 
given by, at Battle Har- 
bour, 464 



Grimes, John, American privateer 
raids of, on Cartwright 
and others, 244-5, 333, 
men shipped away by, 
245, slaves made by, 245 
Cartwright on, 192, 245 

Gross Water Bay, Moravian mis- 
sion proposed at, by 
Smith (Lord Strath- 
cona), 299 

Grossot, mythical city, 86 

Grube, ships of, at Cap de Bras 

(1527), SI 

Guernsey, H.M.S., Cartwright and 
his brother on, 199, 
Lane, sclioolmaster of. Cook's 
successor in Labrador 
survey, &c., 199 
Lucas of ig.v.), 223, Eskimos 
taken home by, 201, 
partners in lousiness 
of, 201 
Palliser's ship, 173,262, false scare 
of Eskimos on, 173-4 

Guidisalvus, John, 38, 39 

Guipuscoans, claims of, as to New- 
foundland fishery, 94 

Gulf of Forests Golfo de Mu- 
rado), 69 

Gulf of Repairs (Reparo), 69 

Gulf of St. Lawrence, 135, 138, 

355. 433 
American Fishery in, 339, 352, 

355. 374, 404 
American Fishing Rights in, given 
by Treaty of Paris, 333 
Approach to, see Gut of Canso 
Basin of Labrador rivers falling 
into, assigned to Lower 
Canada {1825), 442 
approximately coincident with 
territory bounded on the 
north by 52ni! parallel 
between Blanc Sablon 
and River St. John, 446 
claimed for Newfoundland rule 

(1767), 435 
included in area transferred to 

Canada {1825), 441 
Canadians on, 382 
Early visits of Portuguese to, 36 

Gulf of St. Lawrence (co?«^^.) : — 
Eskimo along, found by French 
(1702), 166 
Indian feuds with, ib. 
their southern limit, 18 
First explored by Cartier, 73, 77) 
his second voyage in, 89 
Fishery (probable) in, of th; St. 

Maloins, 36 
Ice-free earlier than Straits of 

Belle Isle, 352 
Known before Cartier, 73) 

proof, 74 
La Cosa's map and, 57, *?. i 
Protection in, from foreign fishers 

desired, 362 
Whale-fishery in, New England 
predominant in {circ. 
1794), Pallisei's Regula- 
tions on, 195, 214, 216 
Whales in, 196 
Gull Harbour, and Sound, why so 

called, 324 
Gut, or Straits, of Canso, American 
fishers making use of 
(1807), 339, 365; ob- 
jections of Nova Scotia, 
362, 363 
numbers in (1833), Audubon 

on, 376 
smuggling in, 346 

Habits of Wild Animals, changes 
in, ignorance on, 302 

Hable de Balleine (Red Bay), 
Cartier at, 75 

Hable des Buttes (Greenish Har- 
bour), Cartier at, 75 

Ha-Ha Bay, Eskimo wintering- 
place, 133 

Hague Tribunal, interpretation by, 
of Treaty of 1818, in- 
vited, 1907., 366 

Hagenbeck, Eskimo taken to 
Europe by, fate of, 

Haies, Edward, on English do- 
mains in America, a 
forecast, 113 
on English fishers in Newfound- 
land, fewness and lord- 
liness of, 102-3 



Haies, Edward {conid. ) : — 

on English title to American dis- 
coveries, 112 
on French action in naming places 

in Newfoundland, 113 
ou French fishermen in New- 
foundland, 92 
Hakluyt, 102 

on English neglect to prosecute 
exploration, 93-4, 100- 1 
on the first Anglo-Azorean ex- 
pedition, 38 
on J. Cabot's landfall, 26 
on S. Cabot's Arctic voyage of 

1516-7., 43 
on Ships sent by Henry VIII to 

Newfoundland, 51 
term first used by, 156, 166 
Halibut, Smith's voyage for (1854), 
consequences, 377 
Value of, possibihties of Lab- 
rador fishing in, 424-5 
Halifax Fishery Commission ( 1877), 
American claims at, 
based on Treaty of 
1818., 367 
Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia, 

Cook's survey of, 198 
Halifax Merchants, hiring Magda- 
len Island fisheries, 338 
Hall, Captain C. F. , on the Eskimos 
of Frobisher's Straits, 
and their language, 
157-8 ; on their char- 
acter in general, 165 
on Runaways from American 
Whaler, 303 
Hall, Christopher, and "' The Com- 
pany of Kathai," 105 
Ifall on Treaties, 1895, cited, on 
the position of American 
Fishers after War of 
1812, American con- 
tention, 356-7, British 
contention, 357 
Hamilton Bay, formerly filled with 

land ice, 1 1 
Hamilton, Captain, Naval Surro- 
gate, 204, 221 
Hamilton Inlet, Labrador [see. also 
Eskimo Island), 10, 32, 
382, 445 

Hamilton Inlet [contd.): — 

Bank parallel to coast north and 

south of, found by 

McClintock (i860), Ross 

on, 416 
Called Grande Baye des Eski- 

maux on old French 

maps, 131, n.l 
Davis's reference to, 120 
Eskimos of, 274 

dying out (1S60), 416 
few in number, 301 
First firm to fur and trade in, 383 
Fishermen living in, fewness 

of, 301 
American, 449 
foreign, 315 
Labrador Court visiting, 1826 

to 1834., 442 
Liveyeres at, met by Grenfell, 

Lumber enterprise on, dispute 

on, between Quebec and 

Newfoundland, 432-3 
Martin's visit to (1821), and 

letter on, 442, 448-9, 

deduction from, on New- 
foundland jurisdiction, 

Methodist missionary in, 293, 428 
Named by Martin, 291 
Paper-making possibilities of, 427 
Part claimed by Quebec, 432-3 
Population of (i860), 416 
Projecting land north of, on 

Kunstman III map, 61 
Rendell's Duty-collecting journey 

to (1S40), 407, 443 
Survey of, by McClintock 

(i860), 416 
Hamilton River, called Kessessass- 

kiou on old French 

maps, 131, 71.1 
Grand Falls of, 427 
Indians of, Martin's visit to, 291 
Martin's ascent of (1821), 442, 

Hamilton, Sir Charles, Governor 

of Newfoundland, 449 
First official visit to Moravian 

missions of Labrador, 

sent by, 290- 1 



Hamilton, Sir Charles (contd.) : — 
Letter from, on the Beard - 
Jennings case (1820), 
and on Forbes' judg- 
ment, 393-4 
Martin sent by to Hamilton 
Inlet, indicating view 
taken by of his juris- 
diction (1821), 442 
Proclamation by, forbidding Net 
laying by strangers near 
mouths of rivers or 
harljours of Newfound- 
land, 371 
Salmon fishery regulations of, 391 
on American disuse of Drying 
privileges on unsettled 
spots (1023), 372 
on French, American and British 
rights on the New- 
foundland fishery and 
that of Grand Banks 
{circ. 1823), 373 
361, «. I 
Hancock's Inlet, harbour at, and 
fish in, Bernard on, 324-5 
Winters at, Atkins cifcd on, 326 
Hanguedo, mythical city, 86 
Hannah, American Whaling 
schooner, seized for tres- 
pass (1818), 361 & n.i 
Harbour Grace, Cook's survey 
of, 198 
Merchants of. Petitions from 
for permanent Court (1792), 3S9 
for protection against Ameri- 
cans on Labrador, 
(1806), 390 
Thomas Darby at, 200 
Harbour of Brest (Labrador), 70 
Harbour of Jacques Cartier, 70 
Harbours of Labrador, excellence 

of, Cartier on, 76 
Hares, at Cape Cod, 325 
Harleyan Map (ciir. 1543), first 
mention on, of Cha- 
teau, 74 
Harmony /, Moravian ship, 

276, 284 
Harmony H, Moravian ship, 289, 
292, 293, 294 

Harmony III, Moravian ship, 
29-4, 295 

Ice- free ocean traversed by 
(183S), 296 

Long career of, 302 

Record cargo of (1855), 299-300 

Some rough voyages of, 298, 299 

Vicissitudes of, 296-7, 298-9 
Ha7-mony IV, Moravian ves- 
sel, 302 

Rich cargo of, 308 

Harrington, Hospital built at, 466 

Harrisse, Henri, authority on the 

Cabot voyages, and on 

cartographical evolution 

of America, 26 

Books by, on the Cabots' voyages, 
26, 27 

Citations by, from Monson on 
English occupation of, 
and claim to, lands 
discovered by Cabot, 
1 14-6 

Epithet of, for S. Cabot, 26 

on Burleigh's attitude to Eliza- 
beth's status in Ameri- 
ca, no 

on English claim to Newfound- 
land, &c., basis and 
exercise of, 93 
Harvard University, honorary de- 
gree conferred by, on 
Grenfell, 473 
Hatton and Harvey, on captures 
of York Fort, 191, 192 
Hawk, Bishop Feild's Church 

ship, 429 
Hawkins, Sir John, 102, Ji.i 
Hawks from Newfoundland, 40 
Haven, Jens, Moravian missionary 
to Eskimos of Labrador, 
254, Indian passport 
given to, by Palliser, 255 

Companions of, on the expedi- 
tion to Nain, 266-7 

in England, help of the Board of 
Trade, 259-60 

Journal of, given to Palliser, its 
story, 256-9 

and Karpik, 201-2 

Meeting with Eskimos at Car- 
punt, 257-9 



Haven, Jens {contd.) : — 

Remembered by Eskimos, his 
own search for, fruit- 
less, 261 
Return of, to Labrador, his com- 
panions, and Palliser's 
proclamation, 260-1 
Sent to work at Nain, his com- 
panions, 268 ; the end 
of his career, 273-4 
On the fate of Erhardt and his 
companions, 253 
Hayes, see Haies 

Hearn, Samuel, Indians of, Eski- 
mos slain by, 167 
Hebron, fourth Moravian Settle- 
ment, Labrador, 305, 
beginning of, 293 
Coast beyond deserted by Eski- 
mos (1810), 296 
Disease at, deaths from, 

(1855), 300 
Earthquake shocks felt at, 

(1857), 300 
Eskimos at, numbers in 
1835., 295 
1840., 296 
1850., 298 
i860., 302 
1880., 309 
Famine at (1837), 295 
Newfoundland fishing vessels at, 

304, 315. 413 

Point of contact with heathen 
Eskimos, early difficul- 
ties at, 294 

Typhoid victims at, 312 
Helluland, meaning of name, 8, 

Opinion of, of early and later 
explorers, 11 

Relative position assigned to, in 
1 2th century geogra- 
phy, 6 

Resemblance of, to Labrador, 9, 
10, II 

Visited by Karlsefni, 8 
Henley Harbour, Church of Eng- 
land mission at, started 
by Feild, 430 

Fishery at (1804-6), 389 
Henley Island, 196 

Henry VII., Eskimos presented 

to, by S. Cabot, 38-9, 

40, 161 

Grants and pensions to explorers 

in the New Lands, 

37, 38 
Letters patent granted by, to 

Ashehurst, and partners 

(1502), 39 
to Joao Fernandez, 54 
to John Cabot alone, 23, 

95= "3 

to John Cabot and his sons, 

20, 21 
to Ward, Ashehurst, and others 

for exploration, 37 
Patronage by, of John Cabot, 

Reward to J. Cabot for discovery 
of the New Isle, 22 
Henry VIII., new voyage to the 
Nev/ Lands decided on 
by, 48, 50, 51 

Thome's letter to, exhorting